Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Flash Future Kung Fu"(1983)d/Kirk Wong

Wang Lung Wei, or Johnny Wang(!), as he's unfortunately known by less enthusiastic non-Asian martial arts movie buffs, will forever be remembered as the apex villain in countless Shaw Brothers gung fu epics.Whether he's decked out in period costume and full makeup or simply kicking it in modern gear with his trademark moustache and Chachi Arcola haircut, he epitomizes the haughty brashness of evil, arms folded cockily over his midsection, issuing powerful and precise martial beatdowns on everyone from Ti Lung and Fu Sheng to Liu Chia Hui and Hui Ying Hung.Naturally, he's become one of my favorite actors in the genre, which got me to pondering just why he's never really been given the opportunity to shine as a lead in too many of these pugilistic pictures.After mentioning tonight's review in passing to Doc as one of the only examples of Wang as the lead protagonist in a movie, he somehow managed to track down a dvd copy for me in record time, and we were sitting down to foggily enjoy a post-party screening that very night.
With Kirk Wong, who would go on to direct Jackie Chan in Crime Story(1993) and John Woo's The Big Hit(1998), in the director's chair for only the second time, tonight's feature, also known as Fight in the Ring, will not harken you to any enjoyment you may have experienced while watching either of those later films.The ambitious plot is embarrassing, the budget is visibly anemic, the fight choreography is cautiously sub-standard, and nobody looks like they're enjoying their screen time too much therein.Though it inexplicably earned a best picture(must've been a sloooooow year in 1983) nomination in the Hong Kong Film Awards, it died like a run over groundhog on the side of the highway at the box office.
Killer(Wang Lung Wei)wonders how he ended up in a post-apocalyptic car full of vacuum tubing.
After poverty-level titles and some dated Commodore 64-ish synth-driven theme music, we're introduced to the 21st century Asian wasteland where you're either a shell-shocked stumblebum or a student at a martial arts school, which the destructive winds of change selectively bypassed, for some reason.Most of the students engage in "Black Boxing"(or plain old kickboxing, as we from the past remember it), and the top competitor is a guy named "Killer"(Wang Lung Wei)who uses bathtubs full of ancient herbal remedies to heal his bruises, rather than the new medicines that the local Chinese neo-nazis have been developing.Wait, what.There's an enormous warehouse full of 'em in town, with full red, white, and black swastika adorned flags and reliefs on every wall, and a gymnasium full of iron-pumping pissed off croptops.Killer's having himself one of these regenerative tub sit-downs, surrounded by well-worn porno mags(!)when a girl who looks as though she's gunned through Lita Ford's old stage gear comes in and interrupts, offering to rub his back for him.He politely turns her down; he's a good guy this time, afterall.There's also ether-fueled super cars adorned with lots of plastic vacuum tubes inside that reach top speeds of 170mph, according to one boastful chick.Yeah, and I'm besties with a Thai-boy she-male prostitute that works out of an aluminum shanty six nights a week.Well, not anymore, thanks to the wonders of medical science...
Asian Devo rip-offs get loose while two ballerinas thump the piss out of a chick in leopard print spandex...Chinese nazis know how to party, make no mistake.
Killer finds himself on the top of the neo-nazi hit list, after one of his buddies is lured into their arcade clubhouse(no, that wasn't a typo) that's fleshed out with a bevvy of Chinese women banged out on nazi drugs in various stages of undress hanging out between and/or on top of the coin-op machines while New Wavers do poorly choreographed song and dance numbers in the middle of the floor.Then two nazi girls lure Killer and friend into their own super-car, which doubles as a water pipe, filling up with drug smoke at the push of a button that obviously does nothing in real life.Later, these same two broads don leotards on a stage while an experimental nazi synth pop outfit plays, and they nightstick another girl in leopard print spandex before drowning her for the paying crowd.When Killer messes with them, he ends up crawling back to his master(Eddie Ho Kung) with multiple colored hypodermic syringes sticking out of his back.The sifu enlists a witch doctor(San Kuei)who smears dead chicken all over Killer's back and plays Atari while he recovers.When Killer and his teacher return to their martial arts school, they find that it's been destroyed by the nazis, who also have since added brainwashing surgery to their repertoir.The two men infiltrate their compound, as Killer is forced to square off with a giant oiled-up skinhead(Elvis Tsui), then some muscleheads in loincloths with leather masks with flashing light up eyes, and then coached through reverse brainwash surgery on a toddler(who's still recovering from the initial surgery) before finally, he takes on the nameless neo-nazi leader, in a boxing ring surrounded by swastika flags after no words are exchanged in a basic kickboxing match.He eventually wins.The viewer certainly doesn't.
Of course this is the future, man, don't you see all these digital clocks from the seventies??!!
As you might guess, I laughed out loud a lot while watching tonight's entry.Lung Wei, as an actor that had turned in endless stellar performances up to this point, will get a pass from me on this one.Jackie Chan suffered through a handful of shitty, inferior Lo Wei movies before he ever got hot, so...Flash Future is what it'd be like if you set out to combine Blade Runner and Mad Max on a backlot with only a surplus of nazi flags, vacuum tubes, and digital clocks... and about thirty-five bucks to do it with.If that sounds like a good time to you, then you'll probably get a few kicks out of it.I'm guessing that most woprophiles would rather skip this one altogether, though, as the riot-inducing ineptitudes won't carry them the full 82 minute running time.One wop.Pass on it.
In the future, will-destroying brain surgery is only negated by immediate reverse brain surgery, as performed by a kickboxer.


achillesgirl said...

LOL! That's pretty much my take on it, as well. Really enjoyed reading this! :)

beedubelhue said...

Glad to see there are girls who enjoy the pugulistic classics as much as I!Thanks for the clear up on the translation discrepancy, doll, I'll fix that ASAP!


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