Snake Deadly Act (1980)

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/17/2005

Pretty decent old-school kung-fu movie with Tong hatching a scheme to get revenge on the man who killed his wife (Kao) by training Kao's son (Ng) to become a killer and turn on his dad. Angela Mao adds some female flair to the movie as a madam who is sympathetic to Tong's quest but uneasy about his methods. The whole revenge subplot had been run into the ground well by the time this movie was made, so it's a bit slow-moving and talky in parts as we see the scenes which seem to be mandatory for this genre. However, the fight scenes are pretty cool, using a variety of animal and weapon styles. Snake Deadly Act isn't exactly "the deadliest kung-fu movie in the world" the cover bills it as, but it's still fairly entertaining.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: bkasten
Date: 04/12/2005

Lar Kar-Leung protege Wilson Tong Wai Shing directed and choreographed this (at times) stunning movie, which has the distinction of having among the most intense and intricately choreographed martial arts sequences of any film this reviewer has ever seen. The sequences between Tong and (another Lau protege) Fung Hak On are just mind-numbing and beautiful in their complexity and perfection.

Several times now I have come away from Wilson Tong films wondering why he never enjoyed the kind of success in the HK action genre that Sammo and Jackie had. One can only speculate, but it may have to do with the fact that he simply chose to go the way of his mentor Lau Kar-Leung and did not adapt to the changes in action cinema that occurred in the early 80s--preferring to stay the old school course.

And Snake Deadly Act is most definitely old school, with a plot that is a slightly unusual variation on the "lifelong plot for revenge" scenario. After being defeated in a battle over the apparent violation of their respective spouses, Fung Hak On's character has a long-term vendetta against the Wilson Tong character, with Fung luring Tong's son (played by flash-in-the-pan actor Ng Kwan Lung) into being his student only to build up his trust and then eventually attempt to kill him as well.

Ng Kwan Lung is certainly quite refreshing, in that he's playing as young and naive happy-go-lucky Jackie Chan-like character with considerable martial arts ability. He's particularly noteworthy for his outstanding kicking ability. Unfortunately this was his one and only movie appearance.

While Ng Jwan Lung has the most screen time, it is Fung Hak On who is certainly the standout here. His collossal screen presence and absolute coolness in playing the morally ambiguous teacher is spot-on; and his on-screen fighting ability, while quite different from Wilson Tong's, appears immensely powerful, artistic and memorable--indeed it's rather complimentary to Tong's style. The fight he has wielding a fan aganst a sword-armed Angela Mao is also quite spectacular.

And while this is far from from being a great film, overall, it is nonetheless a movie that will never get old. The Peking Opera skills on display here by Fung and especially Tong represent a dedication and level of skill that may never exist again.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: mpongpun
Date: 08/11/2003

According to some U.K. labels, this film was supposedly lost. Lucky for us, they found it! Anyways, this flick is the story of a snake fist expert named Yu Yee (Fung Hark On) who promises to avenge a bad defeat at the hands of another snake fist expert, Kuo Ah Pao (Wilson Tong), by promising death to all of Kuo's family. Many moons later, everybody is old and Kuo has become the town good guy plus he has a cocky son named Chung (Ng Kwan Lung). Chung, a good guy that can't punch his way out of a wet paper bag, loves to fight for the poor. He is in over his head when he tries to the get a pretty girl out of her contract with a brothel Mamasan (Angela Mao) and a casino boss (Michael Chan Wai Man) by picking fights with the two bosses. Luckily for Chung, he is saved by Yu Yee both times. Soon, Chung becomes Yu Yee's student and becomes really efficient at the deadly snake fist technique. Later, Chung finds out that his Sifu has more in common with a slippery serpent than just the snake fist skill. Chung finds himself pitted against his vicious father who wants to kill him over some stolen goods. To top this, Chung is let in on a secret--his Sifu has set him up and has marked the Kuo family for death. In a snake fist style showdown, old man Kuo and Yu Yee square off with the dazed and confused Chung looking on. Will Yu Yee get his revenge after many years of waiting?

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 08/31/2002
Summary: Quite decent

Snake Deadly Act is an enjoyable piece of old school kung fu, featuring a great performance from the ever wonderful Fung Hak On, and a star turn from Ng Kwan Lung in his first and only role.

Snake Fist does look a bit silly though!

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 08/26/2002
Summary: Excellent

If for no other reason, Snake Deadly Act should be watched just for the amusement of watching the skill Ng Kwan Lung displays. Although the only film he ever starred in, this is without a doubt a stand out Kung Fu film. His fast skills could easily be compared to someone like Jackie Chan or Yuen Biao given the chance.

The story is basically about the son (Kwok, played by Ng Kwan Lung) of a wealthy and respectable man (not sure of the actor for once!). Kwok gets into a lot of trouble, especially fights. His biggest problem is when he tries to cheat the owner of a casino (Chan Wai Man) with his new found friend (Cheng Hong Yip). He is almost killed, and if it wasn’t for a mysterious shadowy figure that has been following him (Fung Hak On) he would have been finished. After the man rescues him, he talks to him about his Kung Fu. He explains that he is an expert in the Snake Fist, the deadliest Kung Fu. Kwok asks him to train him, and the man agrees. What he doesn’t realise is that this shady character is actually out to kill his whole family, and a surprising turn of events occurs at the end of the film, with a fierce three man battle.

Excellent fight sequences, good story, this is just about as good as Kung Fu films get! The version I have is actually the old Eastern Heroes release in original Cantonese, and I think this one is still quite easily available. Although Drunken Master has always remained my favourite Kung Fu film, this one comes very close.

Highly recommended.