Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chinese Hercules

The Action Mutant…
is waiting for "Chinese Hercules" to become someone's MMA nickname.

Chinese Hercules

review by Joe Burrows

The Plot, as it was:
Yeh Fang stars as Lee Hsi, a man running from his past whilst working at a dock. He killed his girlfriend's (Fan Chaing) brother during an argument an has vowed never to raise his hands in anger again. Of course, this is bad timing for the dockworkers as Boss Chan (Liang Tin), the leader of the local crime syndicate, wants the dock closed down and isn't afraid to use sufficient force to get what he wants. With the large shadow of the syndicate and its hulking henchman Chiang Tai (Bolo Yeung) bearing down, Lee must garner to fortitude to fight for his fellow workers & stop the takeover.

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
Referring to Bolo's moniker while he was Hong Kong's bodybuilding champion, Chinese Hercules is a misnomer if you're looking for this to be the muscleman's movie. While he does steal the flick, it's only during the second half when he finally shows up. Bolo's snappy feats of strength & tough man lines ("We kill 'em...and we dump 'em!") are some welcome fun for a film that wasn't tearing it up until that point. There's quite a bit of exposition that drags things along and what you can hear of it is the dialogue that's not drowned out by the loud, melodramatic score (it also doesn't help that some of the dialogue is recorded very low). The bread and butter of the genre (the fight scenes, choreographed by Jackie Chan no less!) aren't that great until Bolo shows up, where he has many able but small challengers to work off of. From here, the battles get longer & better and Chinese Hercules ends on a high note, which is the least you can ask for from a so-so Fu flick.

Character/Supporting Actor Sighting!:
- Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao are unaccredited as extras. Damned if I could find them, though. Help?

Body Count/Violence: 11. The number would be much lower if it wasn't for Bolo f'ing people up once he surfaces. He supplies some broken limbs and necks during his beatings. Bolo's top moment has to be where he takes a cinderblock and tosses it, knocking a guy off a perch. There's other weapon use as well, such as sticks and barrels.

Sexuality/Nudity: There are two bedroom scenes but nothing is shown.

Language/Dialogue: Not much, just some light stuff.

How bad was it?:
The number of reviews for Chinese Hercules are limited but the one's I caught rate it positively, though nothing special.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Though no money figures are available for it, the film has had a storied release history. It premiered in Hong Kong in March of 1973, then in America (under the National General banner) on 1/2/74. It was also presented by Quentin Tarantino at the Los Angeles Grindhouse Festival on 3/14/07.

Film: **/*****
Entertainment value: ***1/2/*****

Copyright 2012 The Action Mutant

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