Breakout from Oppression (1978)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2008-11-16
Summary: Gordon Liu, the next Bruce Lee?
Tsao Chan (Gordon Liu) is a letter carrier in the countryside who wanders into a town after being accosted by some corrupt cops. He witnesses three men running from a group of houses, and when he investigates he finds two murder victims inside. Meanwhile, a skirmish is developing between a factory owner (Fung Hak On) and his workers, led by two brothers (Paul Chin and Dean Shek). Tsao recognizes the brothers as two of the men fleeing the murder scene, so he decides to ally with the factory boss in order to go solve the crime. Soon though, it becomes clear that the boss and his thugs may have other things in mind that aren't so kosher. Tsao becomes trapped in the middle of the feuding groups and must decide who is honest and who is not.

Plot-wise, this film is a complete mess. The introduction with the corrupt cops has no connection to the rest of the movie, indicating that most likely there were multiple scenes cut. This is even more odd considering the running time is only 78 minutes, which also includes a few "flashback" scenes that are simply entire sections replayed but with a red filter applied, somehow indicating the character's memory of the event. These run for a good 3 or 4 minutes each. By the end, there are so many holes and complications that it seems obvious why this was never released initially after it was completed. For his first credited performance, Gordon Liu is quite good. Being trained in the style, he uses a fair amount of Hung Gar kung fu, and it's impressive on-screen. It had to be pretty obvious at the time that Liu was a star on the rise. However, from the start, it's clear that the filmmakers were molding him to be another Bruce Lee. His haircut is in Lee's style, his outfit is a carbon copy of Lee's and he never shows any emotion other than extreme rage. In fact, during one scene where he is being tailed by a member of the boss's crew, the theme song from Enter the Dragon is used. Perhaps, the completion of this film coincided too closely with Lee's death, prompting its delayed release out of respect. In any regards, save for the somewhat above average fight scenes, which were choreographed by the Liu clan, there is not much to recommend this film. Interesting for posterity's sake only.

Reviewer Score: 5