Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Soul Brothers of Kung Fu (1977)
Okay, I'm going off pronunciation here, so I may not have spelled the names correctly. After a long trip in a small boat, Wei Lung, Shao San, and Chow Yun arrive in Hong Kong and get crappy jobs. They share an apartment and are like brothers -except for female Chow Yun who is the honorable romantic interest.
Wei Lung and Shao San find that racism is alive and well in Hong Kong when they observe a young soul brother in knee high tube socks being beaten by a gang of thugs. They come to the young man's aid and are subsequently fired for fighting on the job. The young soul brother is named Tommy and in the spirit of all that is good with the world, they invite him to live with them. So now there are four unemployed people living in their tiny apartment.
Shao San takes up gambling, while Wei Lung gets into the ring and beats the hell out of people. Tommy trains with Wei Lung in hopes of learning to protect himself and I have no idea what Chow Yun is doing. She gets engaged to Wei Lung so I guess that's something.
But the Triad boss isn't happy that his goons were beaten up when they were practicing their racist bullying so he plots revenge. In due time, Chow Yun meets an unfortunate accident, Wei Lung needs rehab for his serious injuries, and Shao San has a huge gambling debt and decides to marry a nasty bar girl. Tommy is the only one unaffected and remains Wei Lungs faithful sidekick.
It all comes to a head later when Wei Lung (played by Bruce Li) dons Bruce Lee shades and yellow sweat pants with black stripes down the side as he extracts his revenge from anyone who gets in his way.
The dubbing is amusing and have your typical 1970s voices I used to watch Kung Fu Theater on the weekends, and it sounded like whoever dubbed them had a stable of voice actors as you'd hear the same ones over and over again.
Dialogue is often ridiculously vague:
"Hey boss, there's a stranger in here who's giving us some trouble."
"Okay, pass the word on to all the other places."
At one point, the background music is an instrumental part of McCartney's Live and Let Die.
The VHS includes an alternative ending with fingers going into heart and a very different outcome for poor little Tommy. Also I don't even think that picture on the cover is from the movie, because he looked way younger than that, as seen below.