Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"This Man is Dangerous" (1985) d/Wang Lung Wei

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Who's that heavily armed thug in a ski mask, mugging for the release poster for tonight's review, a 1985 HK crime drama of grim and bloody proportions, you ask? As if the mustache of ultimate villainy wasn't a dead giveaway. This Man is Dangerous aka/ Shandong Madman is the second Shaw Brothers feature directed by Wang Lung Wei, starring Chin Siu Ho and Fu Sheng's pipsqueak sibling, Chang Chan Peng, as well as a beardless Beardy (Liang Chia Jen), and a cameo from a very eighties-looking Lo Mang, of Venom Mob fame. There's plenty of execution-style murders, maggot-ridden corpses, Herpes jokes, dated eighties wear, and there's even an obligatory Western extra with zero screen presence, thrown in, for realism's sake, of course. Buckle up, me hearties, it's gonna be another wild one...
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"Fingerprint this?? Bullshit, Mr Han(dless) man!", exclaims Wei (Chang Chan Peng).
Hao and Wei (Chin Siu Ho, Chang Chan Peng) are roommates who aspire to be undercover policemen in Hong Kong, when Hao isn't undermining Wei's every secret desire, stealing his meticulously maintained roses and giving them to Zhi (Lai Yin Shan), a local girl that Wei fancies, but is either too shy or too short to make a move for. Hao even kicks him out of the apartment while convincing her to sleep with him. With friends like that, you almost don't even need Ku Lung (Wang Lung Wei), a ruthless bastard from the mainland who robs armored vehicles in broad daylight and stomps call girls in the labonza just for kicks. On the job, Wei and Hao are forced to pull fingerprints from a rotting, maggot-infested cadaver in a coffin at a morgue whose floor is nearly untraversable, thanks to a floor littered with sheet-covered bodies. They also roll, ridiculously garbed,  into a gay disco, while hunting for a marijuana dealer named Pink Lady (Elvis Tsui), a randy leatherman who digs Hao's Double Dragon-inspired disguise. Cue: obligatory fight scene.

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"Go take a shower, bitch...here's your l-OOFAHH!"
While Hao further strains his friendship with Wei by ducking out on a pregnant Zhi, Ku Lung is busy beating on drunken cops, stealing their service revolvers, and using them in a bullet-ridden bloodbath against a rival gang of Vietnamese, as a favor to Chin Lao Pa (Chang Chuang), a brothel owner and fellow evildoer. When he rubs out Sgt Chen (Phillip Ko Fei) and his favorite prostitute one afternoon, and demands that Chin support him in some upcoming major bank robberies, Chin then sells him out to Beast, the young men's immediate superior, earning himself a brass knuckle beatdown at Ku's ruthless hands,  in one of his own sauna rooms. With the cops, led by Officer Leung (Liang Chia Jen) and Police Chief Luo (Lo Mang), closing in, Ku's brother Biao gets picked off by Hao while trying to dog paddle to freedom in a pond near the gang hideout, and that's something that Ku takes very, very personally, judging by the Uzi he's got stashed away, for just such an occasion. All Hell then breaks the fuck loose, right up to the signature Shaw Brothers final freeze frame.

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Looks like The Toad isn't impervious to half-off sales at Chess King, either.
"The Mayor" himself, Johnny Wang, who wrote, directed, starred in, and choreographed fights for tonight's feature, would go on to direct The Innocent Interloper for Shaw Brothers the following year. You've probably caught Chin Siu Ho in things like Ten Tigers of Kwantung (1979), Masked Avengers (1981), and House of Traps (1982), though he's appeared in over a hundred films by now. Less prolific, by far, is Chang Chan Peng, who made his final film appearance here, after roles in Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1984), Treasure Hunters (1981), and Wits of the Brats (1984), before retiring from acting altogether. Wang may have caught some slack for his downbeat endings and brutal portrayals of violence as a director over the years, but Dangerous did Top Ten business at the HK box office in 1985, and I was well entertained throughout, as always, by Asian cinema's greatest bad guy of all-time. Perhaps he could have changed out some of the weird comedy for longer, more elaborate fight scenes (the choreography tends to favor Wei's love of kickboxing over a traditional style here), but overall, I'd have to lay three Wops on it, regardless. Seek it out, at once.

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 Ku Lung (Johnny Wang) never met someone he couldn't call a "dirty scumbag".
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