Kidnap (1974)
Reviewed by: andras on 2003-09-23
Summary: Kidnap

The box says "kung fu and drama merge..." which is bullshit,because (thankfully) there is no "kung fu" (or any martial arts) in KIDNAP, Shaw’s biggest hit of that year.

The film opens with the "all the characters and story is fictional" legend then immediately shows You REAL newspaper articles about the "3 Wolves". The story will be familiar to those who had already seen SENTENCED TO HANG by the Mak Bros/Taylor Wong (all SB veterans) which was an ok movie,but in all honesty its status is considerably lowered after watching KIDNAP because the similarities are too much (ok,they ripped this one off even down to dialogue). Strangely,no wolf-masks appear in the SB version.

Much of the film is very fast paced,the editing is absolutely crazy. The style is very agressive, hand-held cameras with zooms,pans, split screens, weird angles,camera acrobatics that sometimes recall TOO MANY WAYS TO BE NR.1. From the cast Lo Lieh stands out,he is perfect as the leader of the gang. Some of the best scenes are in the last third: the capture of the fat guy , a visit by a priest in the prison ("Man like us wouldn't know anyone in heaven, all our friends are in hell!") and the hanging itself where all the emotions let loose (Lo Lieh's death is especially poignant).

Directed by Cheng Kang, the fater of Ching Siu Tung (who is credited as action coordinator). Cheng Kang also did the well-regarded wuxia 12 GOLD MEDALLIONS. Not sure,but he might be playing the priest character visting the 3 Wolves in the prison.

At more than two hours it is certainly not as easy to get through as SENTENCED TO HANG and admittedly the movie is pretty rough around the edges,but I would still recommend this to crime-thriller fans. Its influence on later genre films such as LONG ARM OF THE LAW and some of Ringo Lams work is obvious.

Ps: KIDNAP is one of those SB movies that presented in both Mandarin and Cantonese. It looks like Mandarin was spoken on the set ( it is the better track anyway ).