南拳北腿活閻王
The Hot, the Cool and the Vicious (1976)


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/10/2003
Summary: The Hot, The Cool & The Average

This independent kung fu film from 1976 was clearly made on very little budget, and with a script that is best described as "servicable". The son of a town mayor commits a murder and the local cop determines to bring him to justice. A renowned killer is in town, and clearly has an agenda of his own (but what?). Several other characters have their own mysterious intentions too... who will fight on whose side?

Compared to the Shaw Brothers productions of a similar time, Hot/Cool/Vicious does look very shabby... sets, costumes, locations, camerawork, script and acting all say "budget". As such, it's really only of interest to those looking for some kung fu. There's a reasonable amount of it to be found here, but the choreography and filming is unexceptional... however, the physical skills of the actors is pretty impressive. In particular, Tan Tao Ling's legwork is superb.

There's little else to recommend though, so only recommended as a kung fu curio. I might have enjoyed the movie more had I been able to see it in its original language, of course. The Eastern Heroes DVD has a passable widescreen print and a Mandarin audio track, but no English subtitles - so the only way for me to understand it was through the English dub (and I hate English dubs). Pure laziness and lack of care for their customers, but I doubt anybody expects anything else from them.


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 06/07/2002
Summary: Good (Kung Fu at least!)

The main problem with this film is Dorian Tan, his acting that it, as usual he goes about his part as if he were dreaming, and not much better can be said for Don Wong. That aside though, this is one of the most powerful looking kung fu films, with such great fighters as Dorian Tan, Lung Fong, Philip Ko,Gam Ming, and plenty more. However, apart from the fighting, don’t expect too much more, as the story is pretty thin, and as I said before about the acting…it’s terrible.

I saw this again for the first time in maybe 15 years recently, and it looks so terrible looking back to how it seemed back then, but I think a lot is to be enjoyed by others who may watch it nowadays for the first time, especially if kung fu films is what they like. Not sure if it’s easily available now though, the copy I have in actually on an Eastern Heroes video release, in original language - so UK fans may find it easier to find than others.

[3.5/5]


Reviewed by: Ryoga
Date: 12/25/2001

Kicks and punches from Tan Tao Liang and Wang Tao! Tan Tao Liang is the head security of the police force who looks for the killer of his finacee's mother. Wang Tao is a stranger to the town and maybe suspected to be doing something bad. Tommy Lee shows up as the lead villian.


Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 12/28/2000

First, the bad news. The acting is simply awful. Dorian Tan's expression barely changes throughout, and is mostly deadpan. Don Wong's swaggering manner is quite irritating, and he rarely allows his obvious charm to shine through. The tone of the story is near-feverish melodrama. The script is pretty stupid, as it calls for characters to do all sorts of daft things which make little or no sense.

So what, you may say. Fu films are about butts getting kicked, and the acting/script etc are all secondary. Quite so. But the acting and script are below par even by ordinary action film standards.

The crucial question - is the action good enough to make up for all this ? Well, it sure is.

I had read a number of glowing reviews of this film before seeing it, so I was expecting a lot. I honestly don't think it's the classic that many martial arts fans make it out to be, but it's still pretty good. I thought there would have been more and longer fight scenes. However, the fights are of high quality. Dorian Tan and Don Wong are a magic sparring pair. And when Tommy Lee blasts onto the scene, I finally see why he is so highly regarded as a fight choreographer.

The climactic fight scene is a stunner. This is partly due to outstanding choreography, and assisted by one of the best slow-motion sequences I've ever seen in a fu film. I'm not talking about the awful tendency in many fu cheapies to stop, pose, stop, pose etc... This sequence is filmed at full speed and slowed down at critical moments... and it's worth every frame.

Overall - try hard to ignore the dreadful acting. Grit your teeth if necessary. It's worth it.

Reviewer Score: 9