Mandarin: Xiong xie
English: Killer Scorpion
If you watch old school kung fu movies with any regularity, you definitely
know the face but probably not the name. He is Dai Sai Aan, a pseudonym which
literally translates as "Big Little Eye." That bizarre moniker refers
to a facial flaw that makes him hard to miss and a seemingly unlikely leading
man. However, Dai Sai (as he is affectionately known) does indeed topline
this episodic Golden Harvest actioner as Officer "Goony," who is
introduced foiling an armed felon aboard a municipal bus. Risking his life
in the line of duty is preferable to Goony than being stuck at home with his
shrill, mahjong-obsessed wife, who is constantly carping about him being irresponsible
when nothing could be further from the truth. Goony and partner Nan are ordered
to meet up with an undercover policewoman but fail to do so when a triad brawl
breaks out and they have to intervene. The main storyline concerns a gang
of murderous thieves, led by the Ho Brothers (Phillip Ko Fei and Tsai Hung),
who ice several people and also make it look like a police captain committed
suicide. When Goony is almost successful at apprehending them, the men threaten
to turn their guns on his family.
Too much of the running time is devoted to Goony's
troubled marriage and unfunny comic relief from the actress playing his wife.
There is also little in the way of story but, without a name star, director
Chung Kwok-yan no doubt realized that action would be the project's selling
point anyway. Chases and gunplay occur at regular intervals and, while none
of the staging is exemplary, it is consistently efficient. The cinematography
is less competent, however, with several shots clearly out-of-focus and a
lighting-related flicker marring one sequence. Dai Sai is no threat to more
conventionally handsome action stars but he has an everyman quality that keeps
him likeable and one is definitely routing for him during the protracted finale.
Wong San appears briefly as one of the Ho's victims.
Cover art courtesy WA.
#D-DVD 2367 (Mainland China label)
Dolby Digital 5.1
Dubbed Mandarin Language Track
Optional Subtitles In English and Simplified Chinese
8 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips
Coded for ALL Regions
88 Minutes (apparently at 25 frames-per-second)
Contains brutal violence
menu courtesy WA.
BOARD RATINGS AND CONSUMER ADVICE
Ontario: R (Brutal Violence)
As with WA's release of ABRACADABRA (see
review HKD #80), the jacket features a list of supplements and a menu
design that are nowhere to be found on the disc. Instead, we get the same
no-frills/no extras approach that is the norm with this label, as well as
that annoying echo chamber 5.1 (for your viewing comfort, try reducing the
signal to mono and running it through your TV speakers). Other than that,
this is a good presentation. The source materials only contain minor speckling,
the image is crisp, and hues are solid. Be warned: the English synopsis on
the back cover contains major spoilers.
HIRED GUNS is available
at Poker Industries.
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© John Charles 2000 - 2002. All Rights Reserved.