The Lizard (1972)
Reviewed by: duriandave on 2005-07-07
The Lizard was Connie Chan’s final farewell to the silver screen. It is ironic that the last film of Cantonese cinema’s most beloved teen superstar is a Shaw Brothers, and thus Mandarin-language, production. Although Connie is reunited with director Chor Yuen, who worked with her many times during the sixties, The Lizard is significantly different from those other films and indicative of the changes that occurred as Hong Kong cinema entered the seventies.

Most prominent is the fact that Connie, although receiving top billing, plays second fiddle to Yueh Hua who stars as the title character, a virtuous thief who steals only from wealthy foreigners. That casting decision would have never happened back in 1965, when in fact Connie played a similar character in Chor Yuen’s The Black Rose. But the times had changed since then: the masculinization of Hong Kong cinema spearheaded by director Chang Cheh was in full swing.

Nevertheless, Connie still gets plenty of opportunities to show off her martial skills. Energetic and complex, the fight scenes are definitely the film’s main draw. The story is good and all the actors put in good performances, especially Lo Lieh as the corrupt police chief; but the film feels sluggish whenever Connie is not on screen, which unfortunately happens more often than I would like.

Perhaps I should be more grateful. After all, this is the only Connie Chan film that has been digitally restored and released in its original aspect ratio with English subtitles. It’s sad, and again ironic, that it will probably be the only one of her films to receive such dignified treatment. Many of her earlier and better films are thankfully available, but often times only on VCD, frequently with missing scenes, and almost always without English subtitles. The Lizard is by no means a disappointing film, but I believe that another one of Connie’s final films, I’ll Get You One Day, is a more fitting farewell from Hong Kong cinema’s top teen idol and action hero.
Reviewer Score: 8