Stranger from Canton (1973)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2011-03-06
Summary: Historically-based stinker...
Stranger from Canton takes place in the early 1900s during the last years of the Qing dynasty and the rise of Sun Yat-Sen. Loyalists to Sun are gathering and Qing officials are hunting them down and brutally executing them. Jing Fong (Jason Pai-Piao) arrives from the US and is surprised at the injustices he sees. He’s later framed by the henchmen of Qing lord (Thompson Kao Kang) for murder, but joins forces with local martial arts master Wong Yee (Tony Liu) to take down the Qing officials.

Unfortunately, Stranger from Canton falls into the overflowing bucket of mediocre bashers from the early 70s. The choreography is sub-standard, as it seems to be a trend for early Chan Siu-Pang efforts. Severe under-cranking is present in a lot of the fights and the extremely choppy editing destroys the flow even more. The movie is filled with every bad kung fu stereotype imaginable; kung fu students running around in karate gis, ridiculous sound effects, zooming in on actors’ faces repeatedly, inappropriate and over the top laughing by villains and even Bruce Lee mannerisms from Pai-Piao. Throw in the seemingly ever-present sexually creepy Japanese samurai for hire and you hit everything on the list. The only interesting plot point is Thompson Kao using his queue as a weapon that can strangle or cut opponents. I’m not quite sure how that is supposed to work, but at least it’s somewhat imaginative.

On a side note, neither of the Crash Cinema DVD covers feature actors or scenes from the film, especially the one showing Gordon Liu and Lo Lieh in a battle from Clan of the White Lotus. Shameful! The transfer of the Crash Cinema version is also terrible, with the first 15 minutes of the movie being set at night and therefore nearly unwatchable because of contrast problems. It’s probably best to avoid this movie altogether.

Reviewer Score: 2