Dirty Ho/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Dirty Ho

Prince Wang Tsun Hsin (Gordon Liu) is an antiques dealer who takes notice of a con-man, and also martial artist, Ho Jen (Yue Wong) who is attempting to sell stolen jewlery. Rather than completely giving up Ho to the authorities, the respectful Wang offers the police to let Ho be a free man. In exchange, Wang tells Ho to be his martial arts disciple. Poor Ho is even left choice since he finds out that he has been poisoned (Is it the truth or a lie?) and this grants Wang to further convice Ho to stay with him because he has the antedote. Even though Wang can certainly handle himself well in kung fu, he needs the extra protection because numerous assassins led by General Liang (Lo Lieh) have been attempting to kill Wang because of his family-ties with the emperor (Wang being the emperor's eleventh son who is ordered to be killed by the fourth son) The bodyguard-factor pays off as Wang recieves a leg injury during an assassination attempt and trains Ho to be a better fighter than ever before.

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Prior to making this film, director Lau Kar Leung was mostly known for serious, ethical martial arts films such as The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Challenge of the Masters. But after having success with the often comical, Spiritual Boxer, Lau wanted to start having some fun. Joining his vision was family-member and leading co-star, Gordon Liu, who momentarily ditched the Shaolin Monk-character that kung fu fans were always accustomed to seeing him as. Here, he transforms himself into more of a dapper character complete with a fancy little moustache to go along with some affection for the ladies! Also joining the fray (And what one could argue for being Dirty Ho's main attraction) was this new brand of fight-choreography. Long-time martial arts afficianados could be fooled into thinking that Yuen Woo Ping was involved with the choreography for this film since it seems to have his recognizable stamp of acrobatic,fast-paced,trickery action. But this proved to another example of Lau, and his team's, ever-evolving style in kung fu cinema.

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Storywise, the film is a little shaky in the early going, but once you realize that Wang is trying to hide how good his skills are from the public (As well as always having fun with manipulating Ho) the film starts to rise in it's confidence. There's never a big urge for a typical, savage brawl to occur in many of the film's early fight sequences. Aside from the finale where grand-villain extroadinare, Lo Lieh, has his showdown with the two heroes, the rest of the other fight scenes build and build from a simple gesture of drink-offering to a dazzling display of flips and deadly kicks. It's the reason why this film is still so highly regarded as a refreshing classic.

Reviewed by Laydback

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