Issue #234          HOME          E-mail:        BACK ISSUES            October 18th, 2004

Hong Kong Digital is sponsored by Poker Industries. Please see the Hong Kong Digital home page for a special offer from Poker Industries to Hong Kong Digital readers.

Dirty Kung Fu

Cantonese: Gwai ma gung foo
Mandarin: Gui ma gong fu
English: Wily Kung Fu


RATING: 6/10


Another of the enjoyable kung fu farces crafted by The Lau Brothers during the late '70s/ early '80s, DIRTY KUNG FU stars Wong Yue as Pei Dou Chai (aka 'The Rubberball Kid"), a rascally youth who acts as a middle man for bounty hunters by leading them to their quarry. Unfortunately, his colleagues are less than honest when dividing up the rewards, and the local police captain (Karl Maka) has it in for The Kid. When things finally start looking up, he decides to go after ferocious bandit Hu Lang (Wilson Tong Wai-shing), but his usual partners (including the film's director, Lau Kar-wing, and Norman Tsui Siu-keung) are no match for Hu, who can boost his martial prowess by entreating assistance from various gods. Developing a bit of backbone, The Kid resolves to defeat Hu himself and, as no established kung fu technique seems to work, he must improvise a new one. By studying the movements of eels, he defines a fighting style that allows him to slither out of any hold, as well as a way to circumvent Hu's heavenly aid: soiled female underwear! When placed on the head of your opponent, it prevents any God from entering into their body!

Wong Yue (left), Lau Kar-wing L to R: Wong Yue, Dean Shek, Dai Sai Aan Wilson Tong

The storyline is heavily padded to reach feature length and the resolution of the climactic bout is disappointing. Regardless, there is still much to enjoy here, and the martial arts are up to the Lau Brothers’ usual standards. While not very believable as a viable attack style, Wong's "eel fist" may still be the most amusing of the various comic animal form styles found in this sub-genre. Wong Hang-sau, Dean Shek Tien, Dai Sai Aan, Peter Chan Lung, Fung Hark-on, and Ho Pak-kwong also put in appearances.


Here is another old and cropped Ocean Shores master (a 1984 transfer, this time) from their line of English dubbed releases. The mildly squeezed transfer looks passable for this era, if a bit murky and hazy. Likewise, the sound is adequate, if somewhat harsh. The cropping of the 2.35:1 frame leads to many off-balance compositions and the master used here is missing the film's prologue, a sequence running approximately 2 minutes, which shows why Wong Yue is being ambushed as the opening credits roll.

Wong Hang-sau Karl Maka Norman Tsui

This DVD is available at Amazon:

Images in this review courtesy of Tai Seng. To read captions, hover mouse over image.

Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2004. All Rights Reserved.

DVD Specifications

  • U.S. Release
  • NTSC Region 0
  • Tai Seng Video Marketing Inc #82894
  • Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Dubbed in English
  • No Subtitles
  • 8 Chapters
  • Fullscreen (1.33:1; cropped from 2.35)
  • 87 Minutes

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Australia: PG
  • Great Britain: 15
  • Nova Scotia: 14
  • Ontario: PG
  • Quebec: G
  • Singapore: PG
  • Contains mild violence


  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful