Snuff-Bottle Connection (1977)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2009-02-21
Summary: Another winner from Yuen Wo-Ping...
A conspiracy by Chinese traitors to cede large amount of land to the Russians is uncovered by a government agent. After an investigator is killed confronting brawling Russian soldiers, a regional chancellor brings in Shao Ting Shang (John Liu) to figure out what is behind the murder. Shao has an old friend named Kao (Yip Fei-Yang) in the town and decides to hire him for the duration of the investigation, even with Kao's reputation of being somewhat of a con man. When the Russian Colonel Tolstoy (Roy Horan) arrives in the town, Shao realizes that something fishy is afoot and suspects power hungry General Shantung (Hwang Jang-Lee, looking as good as ever in his numerous scenes) is behind it. The closer Shao and Kao get to the truth, the more confrontations they meet. Soon, the two are up against all the General's men and the Russians as well in an all out war.

The ability of an action director really has a huge impact on a film, and nowhere is it as clear as with Snuff-Bottle Connection. Even though the film Secret Rivals has virtually the same cast (substituting an arguably superior Don Tao for Yip Fei-Yang), Snuff-Bottle's choreography and fight scenes are far more interesting and exciting. Yuen Wo-Ping simply has the ability to show the speed, power and fluidity of martial arts better than almost anyone else. I also think he has the actors take much more chances in their fights with actual contact being accepted and almost encouraged. Much like Jackie Chan famously losing a tooth from one of Hwang-Jang Lee's kicks in Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, Yip Fei-Yang has a pretty authentic-looking swollen eye and cheek from a Hwang kick in the final fight. Yuen also utilizes interesting weapons throughout the movie, including a particularly exciting scene where attackers use curved blades attached to chains. Super-kicker John Liu uses a sabre attached to his foot to defend himself in one skirmish and Yip utilizes a Yuen favorite, the bench, to great effect in another. You watch a Yuen flick for excellent fights and Snuff-Bottle Connection does not disappoint. Overall, a fun movie that never bores you, which is all you can ask.
Reviewer Score: 8