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Chinatown Kid

Hong Kong 1977
produced by
Shaw Brothers
directed by Chang Cheh
starring Alexander Fu Sheng, Sun Chien, Wang Lung Wei, Philip Kwok, Lo Meng, Jenny Tseng, Shirley Yu, Siu Yam Yam, Ku Kuang-chung, Wong Ching-Ho, Yang Chih-Ching, Chiang Cheng, Ha Ping, Kara Hui, Lu Feng, Sun Shu Pei, Robert Tai, Tsai Hung, Dick Wei, James Wong, Huan Lin Hua, Lu Ti, Wang Han Chen, Wang Li
written by Chang Cheh, Ni Kuang, fight director: Leung Ting

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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San Francisco, Chinatown: Two immigrants, Jianwen (Sun Chien), an A-student from Taiwan having come to the USA on a scholarship, and naive Dong (Alexander Fu Sheng), an excellent martial artist who has run into trouble in Hong Kong - through no fault of his own -, start working in Chen's (Yang Chih-Ching) Chinese restaurant on the same day, and they soon become the best of friends.

But then racketeer Hu (Lo Meng) threatens Chen when coming round to collect the protection money, and Dong, always on the side of the weak, defends his boss and single-handedly defeats Hu and his gang - with the result that Chen, who doesn't want to get into any trouble, fires him on the spot ...

Down and out, naive Dong is an easy prey for White Dragon (Philip Kwok), Hu's chief rival, who tells Dong he's in the entertainment business but is really the main drug peddler in Chinatown, and he's using Dong to take care of the competition and protecting his own interests, and without even knowing it, Dong has become a gangster, but since he's rolling in the dough, he's not likely to ask too many questions ... until he realizes that Jianwen won't no longer talk to him. It's only when Jianwen becomes addicted to the drugs his gang sells that Dong starts an one-man war against the drug trade as such - which his boss still knows how to use for his own good when he sends Dong against his rival Hu and gang, that also consists of Xu Hao (Wang Lung Wei), the man responsible for Dong being chased out of Hong Kong. Of course, Dong takes Hu's gang apart single-handedly ... but he realizes even this is not enough, drugs are still sold on the streets, and when White Dragon sets him up with a suitcase full of drugs to have him arrested, Dong finally puts two and two together, and he and Jianwen, who has come over his little drug problem and has turned out to be a pretty good martial artist, take White Dragon and gang apart - which culminates in the whole gang being arrested, including Dong, who sees to it though that Jianwen stays out of the whole thing ...


Chang Cheh did definitely not have his best day when he made this film, a weakly scripted and sloppily directed, clichéd gangster tale in which the heroes (like ever so often in Chang Cheh's films) are way too good to be true and the emphasis on friednship ans loyalty is so cheesy it almost hurts. However, in his best films, Chang Cheh always manages to include some interesting story elements or great setpieces to make the thing work after all ... but not so here, Chinatown Kid is just a production line actioner.

And that, despite the film being set in San Francisco, all the cars are driving on the left-hand side of the street is almost annoying - but maybe, on this account I'm a bit too picky ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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... and for the life of it,
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produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD