Warriors Two (1978) / Action-Comedy
aka
Zan xian sheng yu zhao qian hua

MPAA Rated: R for strong violence and crude humor
Running Time: 95 min.

Cast: Casanova Wong, Sammo Hung, Leung Kar-Yan, Fung Hark-On, lam Ching-Ying, Yuen Biao, Lau Kar-Wing, Lee Hoi-San, Dean Shek
Director: Sammo Hung
Screenplay: Sammo Hung

Although many current viewers of Hong Kong movies tend to write off the old school days of the 1970s, mostly due to the high amount of cheesy chop socky humor plus derivative story lines, there are still a handful of these movies that remain just as fresh and exciting today as they were back at the time of their release.  Sammo Hung's Warriors Two is one such movie.

It stars Casanova Wong (Eye of the Dragon, The Scorpion) as Hua, a bank cashier that overhears a conversation involving his boss, the banker named Boss Mo (Fung Hark-On, Snake in Eagle's Shadow), to assassinate the town's mayor and take his place, making him the most powerful man in the area.  Hua enlists the assistance of fat pork dumpling seller Fei Chun (Sammo Hung, Prodigal Son) in trying to tell the mayor before it's too late, but he doesn't believe it, and subsequently gets chopped down by Mo's henchmen.  Hua hides out in Wing Chun master Tsang's (Kar-Yan, Conman in Tokyo) abode after his mother has been assassinated, wanting the martial arts expert to train him in the skills necessary to exact revenge.  After much refusals, Tsang finally consents, but Mo wants to nip any potential rivals in the bud, and sends him men after anyone harboring or consorting with Hua. 

It's only the first credited film for Sammo Hung as a writer and the second as director, but he shows here that he has learned from the best over the years, in this very funny, vibrant and exciting martial arts adventure.  Particularly thrilling is the terrific fight choreography, also by Hung in part, featuring some of the most inventive and exciting battles ever put to celluloid.  It's a tour-de-force for Hung, who also turns in a very appealing performance as the comic relief of the film, making him a talent to be reckoned with in Hong Kong action cinema for many years to come.

Warriors Two is one of the best martial arts films ever made, and a superlative example of how Hong Kong filmmakers were using humor and stunning choreography in order to appeal to a wider global audience.  For all lovers of classic kung fu styles, and especially for those that want an introduction to the era, Warriors Two is a great place to start and get hooked.

Qwipster's rating:

2005 Vince Leo