The Drug Addict
"The mixture of martial arts action and rat-like heroin addicts is just plain ridiculous."
- Mighty Peking Man
The Drug Addict (1973)
AKA: The Drug Addicts
Director: David Chiang
Writer: I Kuang
Producer: Chang Cheh
Cast: Ti Lung, Wong Chung (Wang Chung), Louise Lee (Si Kei), Paul Chun Pui (Paul Chin Pei), David Chiang, Lo Dik, Kong Do, Lee Hoi Sang, Tino Wong Cheung
Running Time: 94 min.
Plot: A drug-addicted kung-fu instructor not only kicks the habit but smashes a drug smuggling ring.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: So why were Chang Cheh, David Chiang and Ti Lung given the pseudonym "The Iron Triangle?" Was it because of their long list of bad-ass films that dominated the early 70's, despite heavy competition with some dude named Bruce? Was it because they were like an unbreakable bond of blood brothers (no pun intended) who tackled a number of totally different projects, as if they were a bunch of gutsy little school kids? Whatever it was, the iron was held together tightly from all three directions.
Chang Cheh dug his two boys so much that he jumpstarted both of their first directorial features. Not only did David Chiang and Ti Lung had a genuine respect for one another, they also looked no further in finding leading men for each of their films. Ti Lung directed David Chiang in "The Young Rebel" and David Chiang directed Ti Lung in "The Drug Addict," with Chang Cheh producing and co-directing both titles under his very own production company. Talk about a group effort.
In "The Drug Addict," Kuan Cheng-chun (Ti Lung) is a kung fu teacher turned who turned into a heroin addict while Tseng Chien (Wang Chung) is a drug dealer with a conscious. The film opens with a penniless Ti Lung, strung out on heroin, begging for a free fix from Tseng. Feeling responsible for Kuan's state, Tseng refuses his request for his own good. Later that day, the two bump heads once again. At this point, Tseng is still feeling bad for him, he decides to make Kuan kick his habit by locking him into an abandoned cabin overnight. After endless hours of hysterical desperation for heroin, Kuan wakes up to a new day to find that he has just been given the favor of a lifetime.
Thankful for Tseng's help, Kuan is back on top form and training again at his kung fu school. Meanwhile, a cop (Paul Chin Pei) is hot on his trail. Aware of Kuan's addiction, the cop questions him about his drug transactions with Tseng. Kuan explains that Tseng's indeed a dealer, but an "different" one that helped him kick his drug habit. The cop assures Kuan that if he helps the system, he'd also be helping Tseng break free from the dangerous cult-like drug ring he's employed with.
Things start to get ugly when Tseng's drug bosses (headed be veteran bad guys Lo Dik, Kong Do aka "The Human Testicle," and Lee Hoi Sang) start to inspect him because of his shady "nice guy" actions. To test his loyalty, they give him an odd job of murdering a certain someone, and that someone is Kuan.
I give David Chiang props for trying something dark and unique with "The Drug Addict." However, the movie is just as dull as its title.
The mixture of martial arts action and rat-like heroin addicts is just plain ridiculous. I'm not sure if I can explain my self correctly, but let's just say the two don't go together. Maybe if it was more fun-filled (like Jackie Chan's consumption of alcohol in "The Drunken Master") and didn't take itself so seriously, it could have worked. Watching Ti Lung in dirty clothes, all sweaty and implying that he'd suck dick for drugs just didn't do anything for me. Thanks to Wang Chung, this portion of the film is tolerable.
The film slightly redeems itself once Ti Lung's characters gets off the dope. At this point, "The Drug Addict" turns into a decent action film with some sweet brawls from both Ti Lung and Wang Chung (who sports the exact same long-sleeved shirt we wore in "Police Force"). However, the earlier, over-dramatic drug-themes have already taken their toll and clouds the possibility of making this a noteworthy flick.
Oh, and by the way, who does Ti Lung think he is, Bruce Lee? The clothes, the sunglasses, the hair and even some of his mannerisms reflect "The Little Dragon." Should I even mention the "borrowed" snippets of Lalo Schifrin's "Enter The Dragon" soundtrack? I mean, it was 1973, Bruce Lee had just died and opportunity was knocking for whoever wanted to try and capture the intensity of Hong Kong's biggest star. I say this with some tongue and cheek, but "The Drug Addict" is this close to being a Bruceploitation flick.
To sum it all up, "The Drug Addict" is worth watching just to see David Chiang's work behind the camera. Technically, he does a fine job, it's just the story could have used some heavy re-writing. If you want to see a better "Iron Triangle" side-project, check out the remarkable "The Young Rebel."
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 4/10