"Two On The Road AKA/ Fearless Dragons" (1980) d/ Li Chao
It's been a minute since we've covered any gung fu, so tonight, to set the Yin and Yang into balance again, we'll be taking a look at the Goldig Films production of a 1980 kung fu comedy directed by Li Chao, the man who gave you 1982's Billy Chong/Willy Dozan vehicle, Kung Fu From Beyond the Grave, and starring no less than "Beardy" aka/ Liang Chia-Jen and Phillip Ko Fei. If that wasn't enough, Johnny Wang himself dons the grey wig and mustache combo as a mayor who may or may not be on the up and up. I think you can figure out how this is all gonna end up already...
"If boulders were currency, I still wouldn't share with ya.", notes Lively Dragon (Liang Chia-Jen).
At the same time that Lively Dragon (Liang Chia-Jen) reluctantly gives Crazy Horse (Philip Ko Fei) a cart ride, the Mayor (Wang Lung Wei) has dispatched a shipment of coins as relief to local refugees with a large weapon-bearing entourage in tow, to protect it. Is it any wonder that both carts cross paths, just as the donations are set upon by bandits on the road? I wasn't surprised. In the melee, Dragon heists the cart, but finds the money already stolen and the chest filled with rocks upon closer inspection. With wanted posters springing up all over town with depictions of Horse emblazoned on them, and the Mayor's fedora-clad associate (Chiang Tao) leading the investigation, Dragon sets a trap for him, both to warn him of the impending fuzz on his tail, and to collect his cash reward himself, of course. At the same time, Golden Jaws (Siu Gam), the Chinese mutant giant cousin of Jaws (who's off working with James Bond, apparently) has been biting random people to death with his spiffy auriferous teefers.
Beardy and Ko Fei are prisoners of Chiang Tao, who's a slave to that ridiculous hat.
The two men set out to find the true gold thief, robbing each other back and forth and ultimately getting themselves thrown in a cell by Fedora after he threatens to torture them in a red white and blue "games room" that has a seat with obligatory spike that goes where the sun doesn't shine. Our boys name drop 1978's Midnight Express as they bust out the cell wall (what era is this set in, anyway?), only to empty out into the cell of a horse-faced nymphomaniac. There's also a behemoth babe (Tsui Oi Sam) who accidentally crushes her husbands on their wedding night, one turning his toes up while our heroes are hilariously hidden under their honeymoon bed. They pose as travelling scholars to investigate the lame legged Mayor as a potential suspect, and combine to wear out Golden Jaws in a silly fight that ends with the giant pissing himself as he falls unconscious. In the end, it's Dragon and Horse vs. the Mayor (surprise, it was Johnny Wang all along.) in a marathon match of martial skill as they interrupt his sneaky getaway with the stolen loot.
"Movement number three...Chinese strongman carries your mother's ass to bed."
After 65 appearances as an actor in these films, in titles ranging from Bruce Lee and I (1976), Eighteen Jade Arhats (1978), and Challenge of the Masters (1976), Cantonen Iron Kung Fu (1979) was Li Chao's first film in the director's chair, having earned over thirty credits there in the years since, on films like 1994's Shaolin Avengers, Struggle For Leader (1983), and 1981's Ninja Supremo. Beardy, on the other hand, has appeared in over one hundred and thirty films, and directed only ten. He's still one of my favorites, even though he's nowhere near as prolific as Ko Fei, who acted in over two hundred movies and directed over twenty, himself. The payoff in this one, is obviously the final showdown between these two and Wang Lung Wei, which is lengthy and as amazing as one could expect out of these guys. Three Wops, and required viewing for any Asian action enthusiasts out there. Hunt it down.
Hold on to your sash, it's about to get fightastic out here.