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Lion vs Lion
Roar of the Lion

Hong Kong 1981
produced by
Shaw Brothers
directed by Hsu Hsia, Chien Yueh-Sheng
starring Lo Meng, Wang Yu, Yang Pan-pan, Wang Lung-wei, Chien Yueh-sheng

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
China 1644: The land, under Qing rule, is rotten, so the Heaven & Earth society was formed to fight corruption, & their ranks are listed in the Hero-Chart, which has been divided into 2 halves as to protect its members ... & one of these parts is to be delivered by Lady Red (Yang Pan Pan) to fighting instructor Bill Zhu (Wang Lung-Wei), because ... I don't know why.

But as these movies have it, Lady Red is stolen of her property (or so it would seem), but fortunately she has an upright ex-Qing officer, Ah Yue (Lo Meng) - who was fired because of not being corrupt enough - on her side who sees to it that the chart is delivered to Bill Zhu anyhow ... even though it turns out his chart was only the decoy & Lady Red had the real one all the time ...

Ah Yue has also made friends with con man Ah Cun (Wang Yu, not Jimmy though), who, impressed by Ah Yue's fighting skills persuades him to open a martial arts school with him. Soon, Ah Cun notices though that they are not famous enough to attract many students & he persuades Ah Yue, who seems to be undefeatable, to challenge other schools.

Soon their fighting school is one of the leading schools in town & so, at the Lion Dance festival, they challenge Bill Zhu's school.

However, while for Ah Cun & Ah Yue, the Lion Dance is just a competition to prove their supremacy as a fighting school, for Bill Zhu it is more since the scroll the winning team is to get contains the second half of the Hero-scroll, which a Heaven & Earth agent has hidden there just before his demise (don't ask why he hasn't found a better hiding place though). Unfortunately for Bill Zhu though Ah Cun & Ah Yue win the competition (& with it the scroll), & when Qian (Chien Yueh-Sheng), Bill Zhu's servant who's really a Qin agent in disguise, sends some assassins to steal the scroll, Ah Yue & Ah Cun guard it with their lives (without actually knowing what it is). Later though, Ah Yue shows no reservations to hand the scroll to Lady Red, whom he trusts, while Bill Zhu finally fights it out with Qian, the servant he trusted ... & of course wins. When Lady Red comes back with the scroll though, she has to realise that Bill Zhu is actually a Qing agent himself, & she loses her life defending the scroll. Just a good thing Ah Cun, very skilled in conning people, has exchanged the scroll for another one by then, leaving the traiter Bill Zhu emptyhanded ... & Ah Yue & Ah Cun, who by now have a vague idea what it is all about, to guard the scroll.

Ah Yue has a fierce fight with Bill Zhu, which he eventually loses, whiile Ah Cun, who pretended to be dead to escape a fight, now has to face Bill Zhu after all - after promising the dieing Ah Yue loyalty, friendship & that he will give up conning people.

Ah Cun can finally defeat & kill Bill Zhu when he lures him into an allegedly haunted mansion & uses this to his advantage. But in the last scene he is shot by Qing soldiers himself, who think him to be a revolutionary ...

 

Despite some impressively staged fight scenes - with the Lion Dance being the the expected climax (though more than a little derivative from Jackie Chan's The Young Master from the previous year) - Lion vs Lion at no point manages to blend its comedy- & its action-drama-elements into a coherent form, so its comedy- & drama-storylines just seem to develop side-by-side with rarely touching each other while much of both plotlines jsut goes by unexplained, does not make sense or even contradicts previous events. & the ending, where Ah Yue & Ah Cun suddenly prove to be fearless fighters for the revolution - though it's never explained to them what they are fighting for/against - is just straining credibility a bit too far ... not at all helped by the instance where Ah Cun promises the dieing Ah Yue that he will be good from now on - a scene even Chang Cheh would have dismissed as too cheesy !

 

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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD