Mad Monkey Kung Fu
"No kung fu fan will be disappointed."
- Kenneth T.
Mad Monkey Kung Fu (1979)
Literally: Acrobatic Masterpiece
Director: Liu Chia Liang
Writer: I Kuang
Producer: Run Run Shaw, Mona Fong
Action Director: Liu Chia-Liang
Cast: Liu-Chia Liang, Hsiao Hou, Lo Lieh, Wei Ying-Hung, Lin Hui-Huang, Cin Ke-Ming, Sheng Hsien, Wang Ching-Ho, Wang Wen
Running Time: 95 min.
Plot: Liu Chia Liang is kung fu master Chen, tricked and crippled by the villainous gangster and brothel-keeper Tuen (Lo Lieh), who also forces his sister into prostitution. No longer able to practice the martial arts, he becomes a lowly street entertainer, performing with his monkey Ah Mao. Tuen's men slaughter the animal, forcing Chen and his petty-thief sidekick Little Monkey into mortal combat with the enemy, the ultimate test of their Mad Monkey style kung fu.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
PERKELE'S REVIEW: No question, Liu Chia Liang is one of the greatest kung fu directors of all time. His work had had an influence on the genre that only a selected few can equal. All-time classics such as "Executioners from Shaolin", "Legendary Weapons of Kung Fu" and most importantly "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin" are definite milestones in HK cinema. So "Mad Monkey Kung Fu" can't be a bad either, and it really is not. It's an epic showcase for Liu Chia Liang and, even more, for his protégé Siu Hou. The story is interesting, martial artistry pure excellence and it has the best training sequences ever captured on film! Liu himself is nothing but great as the crippled Monkey Fist master, but lets the awesome acrobatic Siu Hou steal almost the whole movie with his prefect monkey impression. Hell, these guys can move more like a monkey than a monkey itself! Acrobatics even overshadow the actual kung fu in a few scenes, making it look like some circus show (not so often thought that it could be consider as a bad thing). BUT (and that's a major BUT) the fucking comedy sucks! Almost 80 % of the film's fights have Siu Hou 'fooling around'. You know, after every fancy, perfectly executed kung fu move the action suddenly stops, bad guys pretend to be locked in ailing positions (while they easily could get loose or at least do something else than just make agony-filled faces), and then Siu Ho says (with an annoying dubbed voice) something like "Hey you guys are really stupid! And dumb too!" after which he hits them with an umbrella and the baddies back up to rub their wounds whining "We'll fix you, you prick!" or something like that, you got the idea. These irritating and idiotic 'comedic touches' nearly ruined the film for me so I was relieved when the final beating of Lo Lieh was almost dead serious. Lo Lieh? Well he's that evil dude who was beaten by drunken Liu in the opening sequence, so Lo Lieh forced Liu's sister (the ever-lovely Hui Ying-Hung) into prostitution and crippled his hands (which was in my opinion just a random revenge for the exact same kind of treatment HE received in the 1972's classic "Five Fingers of Death"). After Liu's misfortune continues and his pet monkey gets killed, he adopts a cheap substitute monkey imitator dude, Siu Hou, to whom he teaches kung fu. Revenge? You guessed it.
PERKELE'S RATING: 7/10
KENNETH T'S REVIEW: This one is a acrobatic masterpiece in which every one shows there skills. No kung fu fan will be disappointed. Had some good Chinese opera at the beginning of the film and of course Mad Monkey Kung Fu. Liu Chia Liang shows his acrobatic side, but he lets his side kick shine at the end of the film. Very long training sequences in the middle of the film. To put short: anything that Liu Chia Liang makes will be the shit.
KENNETH T'S RATING: 10/10 (The ultimate monkey movie!)