HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Antibirth
Undisputed
Vengeance: A Love Story
All About the Benjamins
Wolf and Sheep
House IV
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Face in the Crowd, A
Arrival
House II: The Second Story
Jade
Who's That Knocking at My Door
Louder Than Bombs
House
Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell, A
Eyes of My Mother, The
Just Like a Woman
Lady in the Van, The
Jack the Ripper
Gleason
What a Whopper!
Kickboxer
Insiang
Only the Strong
Manila in the Claws of Light
Sun Choke
Man on Fire
Clear and Present Danger
Two Rode Together
Chamber, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Maulin' the Jack: The Jack the Ripper Story Bastardized
Absolute Dick: Dick Emery at Thames Television on DVD
Face the Strange: Extremes of British Pop Movies '65-'75
How To Become The Most Famous Man in the World: Chaplin at Essanay on Blu-ray
Every Day's a Holiday, Charlie Brown!
Christmas Bonus: All Star Comedy Carnival on DVD
Manor On Movies: Beat On The Brat(s)
The SHADO Knows: UFO The Complete Series on Blu-ray
Siege Mentality: Rio Bravo and Assault on Precinct 13
Queens of Women: Five Cult Stars, Five Cult Films
   
 
  Return of the Kung Fu Dragon Pretty Polly strikes againBuy this film here.
Year: 1978
Director: Yuk Chik-Lim, Yu Kong
Stars: Polly Shang Kwan, Sze-Ma Yu-Chiao, Nick Cheung Lik, Tsai Hung, Tung Li, Lam Chi, Li Chung-Chien, Hsiao Wang, Tin Yau, Chan Sing, Yeung Fong, Chuen Yuen
Genre: Martial Arts, Weirdo, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Golden City, capital of wondrous Phoenix Island, is attacked by cackling despot General Black (Tung Li) and his sorcerer ally (Tsai Hung) who travels with a young woman (Yeung Fong) to help carry his enormous white beard. These goons overthrow the rightful ruler and his three mighty generals, the last of whom dies saving the little princess but is forced to abandon his own daughter. He passes the princess onto a wise old Taoist who conjures a mystic mist around his mountain lair that keeps her safe for nineteen years. In time the Princess (Sze-Ma Yu-Chiao) grows up studying mystical kung fu alongside comedy sidekick Ah Ping (Hsiao Wang), whom everyone persists in calling a boy even though she is clearly a dumpy middle-aged woman in pigtails. Go figure. Now the mystic mists have cleared, the Princess returns to Golden City with the aim of finding some way to destroy the sorcerer’s jade dragon staff, which will foil his magic and set her people free.

Hang on a minute, isn’t this a Polly Shang Kwan film? Why yes, that’s right, for although the elaborate build-up leads us to believe the Princess is the primary protagonist of this mad martial arts fantasy, our main heroine is indeed the much-loved Seventies kung fu queen. Pretty Polly cuts a fetching figure, high kicking in a spangly gold mini-dress and white go-go boots, as Ma Chen Chen, a rather rowdy young woman with (what else?) awesome kung fu skills. Mighty Ma is the apple of her daddy General Black’s eye, until his kindly wife (Lam Chi) reveals her real father was the heroic general slain in act one. Suitably traumatised but driven to do right, Ma hooks up with an undercover agent (Nick Cheung Lik) and the son of another good general (Li Chung-Chien), rescues the captive princess then visits the Taoist master to study supernatural kung fu so she can take down her stepdad and the white-bearded sorcerer.

Once again, the appealing Shang Kwan delivers a lively performance that defies the stereotype of the grim woman avenger. Unlike those stern, no-nonsense gals essayed by her contemporaries Angela Mao and Judy Lee, Polly specialised in heroines that were funny and playful but who could swagger and roughhouse along with the boys. As an independent production, Return of the Kung Fu Dragon has a rough and ready quality compared to the more polished martial arts pictures from Shaw Brothers or Golden Harvest, but some low-budget ingenuity shines through in its frenetic fight choreography and rapidfire editing. While the plot itself is offbeat and intriguing, especially Polly’s conflicted feelings towards the villains who raised her as their own, the storytelling by co-directors Yuk Chik-Lim and Yu Kong borders on the incoherent. Kong directed only one other movie, The Monk’s Fight (1979) on which he also served as editor, composer actor and writer. Chuk-Lim, a prolific cinematographer on several major movies, directed thirteen films in total, notably the kung fu horror Devil Woman (1974).

There are some interesting elements, notably the unexpectedly tragic dimension to the stock comedy sidekick role and Tung Li’s oddly affable villain, plus one jaw-dropping scene where the fighters form a living chess game complete with martial arts masters calling out moves (“Knight takes rook!”), but lacking a steady directorial hand the film laps into a mishmash of fantasy and farce. Especially amusing is the moment stoic hero Li Chung-Chien mistakenly believes Nick Cheung Lik’s character is staring at his bum rather than the distinctive tattoo on his back, and the climax that unexpectedly hinges on the beard-lifting lady choosing right from wrong. See? She was important to the story.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1045 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme music?
Superman: The Movie
The Dark Knight
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three ('74)
Star Wars
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Great Escape
Halloween
The Ipcress File
The Magnificent Seven
Back to the Future
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
  Nelly Bongbong
  June Wallace
  Mark Hodson
  Rian Hill
Enoch Sneed
Guild Lee
   

 

Last Updated: