Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dragon and Tiger Joint Hands

 Director: Yueng Jing Chan
Starring: Anthony Chan Keung, Shut Chung Tin, Cheung Kam, Hsieh Hsing, Jack Long Sai Ga

After being rescued from the hangman's noose for a crime unbefitting the punishment, Chinh Hsiang (Anthony Chan Keung) returns to his village home after a three year absence. There he discovers local bully turned tyrant, Tien Pioa in league with the Japanese and bleeding the poor farmers for all they possess. At first Chihn refuses to help fearing it would merely cause more problems. However, the killing of his school's teacher (Jack Long) ultimately causes him to rethink his stance. 

This is a solid Basher containing characters and plot points that are brought into sharper and more detailed focus than one is accustomed to seeing in these films. Director Yeung Jing Chan (who doubled as producer here and whose few credits span the entire spectrum of the Hong Kong action biz, ending with 1992's Gambling Ghosts Are Ready) does well to keep the material feeling fresh. This type of story has been told countless times before, but rarely was I as caught up in the characters' plights as I was here. Unfortunately, it couldn't quite sustain it's tension and by the final reels, it felt like a bit of a stretch (Chinh ultimately takes what feels like an exorbitant amount of time before deciding to go into action). But that is forgiven when faced with some of the best fight action of this period. All of the many battles are quite exciting and unpredictable (always a plus with these things) and build well up until the finale which is particularly vicious. 

All in all, Dragon and Tiger Joint Hands is a well done little spitfire of a film with good work put in by all involved. Old School Fu fans in particular will enjoy watching a young Jack Long in pre-Seven Grandmasters style punch and kick action.

Rating: 7/10

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