Dirty Ho (1979)
Reviewed by: kiliansabre on 2007-12-03
Summary: A great Shaw Brothers film from a lost era
One of my favorites by Liu Chia-Liang finds cocky theif Ho Ching (Wong Yu) and sly Wang Chin Chen (Gordon Liu) together in a brothel, competing with their wealth for the brothel girls attention. When Wang Chin Chen gets the upper hand, Dirty Ho Ching attempts to get back at him and in a sword fight involving a lovely brothel girl (Kara Hui), Ho Ching is poisoned on the forehead. Desperate to heal his uncurable wound Ho Ching finds himself in the servatude of Wang Chin Chen who turns out to be much more than Ho Ching anticipated.

This comedic martial arts classic is full of fantastic fight scenes and a few played strictly for laughs. I love this sort of comedy much more than some of the comedy found in 70s kung fu movies. Fortunately the script is smart enough to lay out some amusing situations in which to wrap fights around. In one scene Gordon Liu takes on a wine connaisseur and his waiter, calmly evading attacks as they walk from seat to seat enjoying the wine. Another has Wong Yu fighting a band of cripples that have a few tricks up their sleeves. The finale is fantastic which involves a three on two fight with weapons which is choreographed so well that it's hard to imagine someone being able to duplicate it. In recent years such complex fight scenes are really unheard of.

Though the ending is a bit abrupt the characters here are interesting and the motives make sense. None of the comedy is forced and though it is definitely silly at times it's at least never boring. It's also great to see Gordon Liu in a 70s martial arts flick where he doesn't play or resemble a monk. Kara Hui's role is relatively small here and she is only involved in a single fight. If you haven't seen this already, why not?
Reviewer Score: 9