Snake Deadly Act
The film begins with Wilson Tong and Fung Hark-on
dueling one another with snake like slashing attacks and nasty insults.
They land more blows with the insults than they do with their hands. Fung
is challenging Wilson because as he yells at him “You raped my wife”. Wilson
counters this with a stinging “You once raped a woman as well” to which
Fung sheepishly replies “Ya, but it wasn’t your wife!” Fung soon runs off
promising Tong that he will be back for revenge some day.
After the credits roll, that day turns out to
be some twenty years in the future and now Fung’s hair has turned gray
and Wilson is a wealthy benevolent man in a small town. He also has a son,
Ng Kun-lung, who is a bit cocky but goodhearted and sees himself as a protector
of the weak. This is constantly getting him into fights in which his kung
fu is generally good enough to prevail. After saving a girl from a pack
of thugs, Ng discovers that she has been sold to a brothel to pay for her
father’s gambling debts.
Ng heads for the brothel and asks for the owner
in order to set the girl free. And who should the owner turn out to be
but Angela Mao in a highly unusual role for her. Not only does she run
a brothel but there is also no heart of gold hidden beneath her frosty
manner. This film (1980) was made very near the end of Angela’s career
and she is only in it for some five minutes. It’s a nice five minutes though.
She picks up a sword and tells Ng to take a hike upon which they have a
nice joust that is more wushu sword exercise than anything, but Angela
looks extremely graceful and quick. She makes short work of Ng – nearly
ending any thoughts he might have for being a father some day – before
he is rescued by a watching Fung. Now Fung and Angela go at it – he with
a fan, she with sword and then by hand. This is quite enjoyable watching
as well except for in the end Angela finds herself at the wrong end of
Ng continues getting himself into trouble – getting
thrashed by casino owner Michael Chan before once again being rescued by
Fong. Fong eventually takes on Ng as his student and puts him through arduous
training sessions – but it is clear that this is all part of some diabolical
plot to gain his long sought after revenge. Wilson it soon turns out is
not quite the benevolent man that everyone thinks. Appearing also in the
film is Phillip Kao as the head servant, Chan Lung as one of the kung fu
instructors and Bolo Yeung as a muscle man.
Overall the film has a fair amount of action and
much of it is competently if not excitingly choreographed. Still, it never
gets very involving and though Ng Kun-lung shows some good acrobatic talent,
he doesn’t have the personality or presence to carry the film. Fung Hark-on
is clearly the more interesting character and the more interesting to watch
in action – but he is often off stage for long sections. And of course
a lot more of Angela Mao would have been very welcome.
My rating for this film: 5.5