Viewed – 03 February 2022 Blu-ray
Sammo Hung has long been for me one of my favourite go-to Kung fu stars, and his output from the seventies to the early nineties could rival Jackie Chan, even if he’s not achieved the same level of fame outside of his native country. This 1986 ‘Kung fu western’ has Hung as an outlaw who returns to his home town to make good. Yet his criminal ways lead him to attempt to blow the train tracks to force a train to stop near the town and bring its wealthy occupants to spend their money. All the time various groups of people are heading to the town, including a group of ruthless bandits.
This is first and foremost a comedy, and a broad, slapstick one at that. The humour is silly but amiable and there’s some good gags that gave me a few chuckles. Veteran comedy stars of the Hong Kong film industry like Richard Ng and Eric Tsang are joined by names such as Yuen Biao (on fine form in some great acrobatic fights and a stunning three story jump from a burning building), Hwang Jang-lee and American star Cynthia Rothrock.
The action is mostly left to the end, although it’s certainly worth the wait. Also the various groups of people are all interesting and the anticipation for all these to come together is palpable. An entertaining, well made movie with several stand out scenes that makes this, whilst not necessarily up their with the very best, well worth a watch.
This release from Eureka Classics is packed. We get four cuts of the movie, the original theatrical release, the extended international version (which I watched), Shanghai Express version and the hybrid cut. The soundtrack has both the original Cantonese language with subtitles and there’s also a decent English dubbed soundtrack. There’s two audio commentaries, scene-specific audio commentary with actress Cynthia Rothrock, interviews, behind the scenes featurettes and more. There’s also a poster with newly commissioned art work. All in all, impressive stuff.
(the movie) Good
(the Blu-ray) Recommended