Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Invincible Obsessed Fighter

Director: John King
Writer: Stephen To
Producer: Tomas Tang
Cast: Elton Chong, Michael Wong, Robert Chan
Country of origin: Hong Kong
Year: 1983
Reviewed from: UK DVD

The chop-socky genre - though we love it to death - does not have a reputation for coherent storylines. Maybe that has changed nowadays (the day after watching this DVD, I saw House of Flying Daggers at my local cinema and was blown away by it) but it certainly held true twenty years ago - especially on any film where Tomas Tang was credited as producer.

The main character in this movie is played by Elton John. Actually the actor's name is Elton Chong but the amusement value of that monicker pales into insignificance when we learn that he is seeking revenge for his murdered father - named 'Fat Ho'! In doing so, he adopts a range of disguises and has, unsurprisingly, plenty of fights using the 'eight chopper fist' technique which his father taught him. There are frequent references to someone named General Ching who is searching for a treasure which is never actually identified, but that was about as far as my understanding of the plot went.

Among the bad guys sent to despatch Chong is a chap with very short hair and foot-long sideburns - he looks ridiculous but you wouldn't want to tell him that because he's a mean piece of work with a nasty kick. There is also an old guy in multi-coloured robes who we will come to later.

The fights are surprisingly good and have a nice comic touch to them; several times people get kicked by their own legs and there's one great sequence where somebody is pulled around by a pair of chopsticks jabbed up his nose. In fact the whole movie is played for laughs although any humour in the dialogue or situation is lost by the typically atrocious dubbing. Fortunately, there's enough energetic physical humour to make the film genuinely entertaining, as well as fun with the various disguises.

Now - the old man with his coat of many colours. "If you wear that," Chong tells him playfully during an early encounter, "people will think that you're an exorcist." And indeed when they fight again later in the film the old chap (subsequently referred to as 'the ghostfighter') raises a zombie from... somewhere... to make it two against one. Fortunately this particular member of the undead, played by a bloke with his face painted brown, isn't much cop at martial arts, whereas the ghostfighter is obviously adept, albeit using an extraordinary stiff style incorporating lots of straight arms and legs. Fortunately Elton John manages to rip the zombie's arm off which makes him even worse at kung fu than before. And that's not a sentence I ever expected to write!

Tomas Tang, making his third appearance on this site after his work on Firefist of Incredible Dragon and Death Code: Ninja, turns out to be a pseudonym of ex-Shaw Brothers staffer Godfrey Ho Jeung Keung according to the excellent Kung Fu Cinema site although the Inaccurate Movie Database reckons that it was some sort of house pseudonym. Whatever, he certainly knew how to come up with titles and Invincible Obsessed Fighter is a definite step up from those two other films.

MJS rating: B
review originally posted 19th January 2005

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