The Dynamite Trio (1982)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2008-05-25
Summary: Fast action but could stand to lose the comedy...
A parade of characters, each with their own endgame, pursue a manual of the Mantis style in this kung fu flick from the early 80s. The film opens with the "Mantis Master's" nephews, having stolen his teachings, running into Sha Long (Chuen Yuen) and both nearly being killed. The surviving nephew, Tin Fu (Ma Yue-Fung), finds a pharmacy in a local town to recover in. It is being run by a doctor and his inept son (Mark Long), along with his friend and assistant, Xiao Lau Zi (Gu Bao-Ming). They are more interested in learning kung fu from a local school than handing out medical advice, and when the two thugs (Sha Long and Lung Fei as Master Li Quai Shur) come looking for the manual, they decide to start training themselves from the book. Xiao Li (Mark Long) is a quick learner and eventually masters the style, returning to the school to show off his prowess and taking up a job as a bodyguard. When a former student, Mar Chang (Heung Wan-Pang), of the Mantis Master comes looking for the manual as well, he recognizes Xiao's style and challenges him. Eventually the two recognize the threat that Master Li poses, and they team up with the Mantis Master (Tong Ga-Kuen) himself to form the trio to take Master Li down.
For a film that is chock full of very accomplished martial artists, "The Dynamite Trio" gets lost in an attempt to blend comedy with very well choreographed fights. The scenes at the kung fu school are hopelessly drawn out and uninspired, with a stereotypical tight-wad master (Gam Wing-Cheung) and his abusive instructor eventually getting their comeuppance. Gu Bao-Ming's character is also somewhat annoying throughout the film. One should also forget about the plot, as character's motivations and relationships are unexplained, leaving gaping holes in the story. The fights however are quite good, with Lung Fei and Mark Long showing especially good skills. Relative unknowns Heung Wan-Pang and Tong Ga-Kuen are also excellent on-screen fighters. The final fight scene with these four and Chuen Yuen is well choreographed and executed. Unfortunately the rest of the movie (save for the exciting initial fight between Mark Long and Heung Wan-Pang) is typical kung-fu comedy dreck.

6/10
Reviewer Score: 6