By Hook or by Crook (1980)
Reviewed by: cpardo on 2006-05-15
Summary: Worth a second look!
A local rich man has his money stolen and they believe it to be the work of "Flower Kid," an outlaw hero who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. The man's wife suggests hiring Skinny Gee, a sneaky con man famous for catching crooks. Gee is able to track him down, but it turns out this Flower Kid is only a guy named Fatso, who idolizes FK and is continuing in his tradition. They eventually find the real one, but he's old and retired and has no desire to become a hero again. That's when Gee and Fatso band together to retrain him and give him the courage to come out of retirement. Good timing too, as they're on the trail of a nasty killer and his cohort, who need to be brought to justice...

I didn't think much of this film when I first saw it--it was sort of funny. But that was mainly of the bad VHS copy I had. Now that I've seen it on DVD it makes a big difference. This is mainly a mystery comedy featuring a great cast ensemble. I probably still missed some jokes, but there was a lot to laugh at in the film. Dean Shek is a hoot to watch and Sammo adds muscle in his role. Veteran Wu Ma is effective in the FK role, while Chung Fat makes a good ugly villain (those eyebrows). Eric Tsang has a small role as a Chinese gunfighter, complete with Good Bad and the Ugly music! Dashes of Kung Fu are thrown in, and the ending is an interesting mix of fisticuffs and wacky comedy. Seeing Sammo and Dean decked out in ridiculous armor costumes (for the final assault) is hysterical. I also liked the catchy music, with the repititive guitar flamenco opening theme and the bouncy Skinny Gee theme and all it's variations. All in all, this is a consistently entertaining production. I'd watch it again.
Reviewer Score: 7