• Kung Fu Girl/Whiplash (Martial Arts Double Feature)



    Released By: Shout! Factory
    Released On: December 2, 2014
    Director: Wei Lo, Shan-Hsi Ting
    Cast: Pei-Pei Cheng, Tsai Wang Ai, Ching Te Chen, Wei Ou, Jackie Chan
    Year: 1973, 1974
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Film:

    Shout! Factory adds to their roster of martial arts flicks with this latest Golden Harvest double-bill, featuring Pei-Pei Cheng, star of many classic martial arts films and more recently known for her work in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Please note that the back of the DVD case has the synopses for the two films reversed.

    Kung Fu Girl

    In a time of Japanese oppression, a mishap with a mule cart full of guns leads an interesting character known as Yang Gang to a small village. After fiercely battling with some locals, he reveals that he's actually in town looking for the younger sister of Lei, the Chief of Security, in the hopes that she will be able to convince Lei to let go of one of his recent rebel detainees. When Yang discovers that Lei's sister is dead, he turns instead to Ying (Pei-Pei Ching) a skilled martial arts fighter who resembles Lei's sister.






    The ruse works, as Lei has not seen his sister in some time, but the arrival of his "family" makes things difficult when they cause an international incident immediately,delivering a sound thrashing to a group of Japanese citizens (including a young Jackie Chan) in a restaurant. While Lei doesn't seem to have too much trouble explaining their actions to an irate Japanese consulate member, eyebrows are further raised when the rebels that they're intent on locking up start getting insider information that could only have come from Lei's officers. As Lei attempts to crack down on the mole in his department, pressure from the Japanese authorities threatens to ruin Ying's rescue attempt and put the lives of her family in danger.

    Also known as Tie Wa and None But The Brave, Kung Fu Girl features remarkably similar themes to Wei Lo's film of the previous year, Fist of Fury. Most notably Japanese bad guys are back, threatening the freedom of the Chinese in their own country, and it's up to the underdog to undermine their authority. Unfortunately, as strong as Pei-Pei Ching is both as an actress and a fighter, her charisma doesn't really come close to that of Bruce Lee, and the film suffers as she's relied on to carry the two hour running time. That's not to say that the fight scenes aren't fantastic..they are...or that it's not a good film...it is...but as the film even shares a number of the same actors as Fist of Fury, it's inevitably going to get comparisons.







    The problems with the plot are numerous, the largest one being the stupidity of Lei in not realizing that all of his problems start with the arrival of his family, and because it's lacking in a significant amount of action scenes, the storyline, which is really not that exciting, tends to drag a lot more than it should.






    Whiplash

    Whiplash tells the story of an Empress who fled Peking for Rehe, losing a number of her jewels and other treasures to bandits in the mountain caves. Long a source of mystery, many have tried to recover these treasures, only to meet with disappointment and premature demise. When Whiplash's (so named for because of her skill with a whip, duh) father attempts to help the Country Authorities find the treasure, he receives a bullet in the head after an Indiana Jones-style rockslide.

    When a group of undesirables show up at Whiplash's restaurant to steal meat and Tiger Bone Wine, she recognizes a few of the items that they're carrying as belongings of her father, and beats the confession out of them that they liberated the possessions from his ravine-bound body...but that he was still alive when they left him. Gaining the upper hand on them after an epic Tiger Bone Wine pissup (and accompanying song and dance), she forces the group to lead her to her father's body, but will have to deal with their sly attempts at escape, some sexual harassment, and a heaping helping of flatulence and faeces. As if that's not enough, she'll also encounter some other nasty characters who are after the treasure for their own sinister purposes.







    To put it plainly, Whiplash is a whacky film. The Tiger Bone Wine song sequence is straight out of Bollywood, the chain gang pooping episode is out of....I don't know what, and the characters, dialogue, action scenes and comedic rape sequence all seem like they were written after a late night session with some Tiger Bone Wine. But it's the farting, singing, and pooping (not so much the raping) that carries Whiplash through it's 90 minutes of fun, covering up a rather bland storyline. There aren't too many fights to break up the monotony during this one, but there's definitely enough eyebrow-raising weirdness to stop you from checking your phone during the film.






    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Both films are stored on one DVD and presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer. It doesn't appear that too terribly much if anything has been done to preserve or clean up the films, and dirt, scratches and other noise appear throughout. There are also some compression issues, possibly a result of putting both films on one DVD that pop up here and there, but nothing too horrible. Although the picture couldn't be described as "pretty", it's still a step above Goodtimes and Front Row Entertainment, and definitely worth getting if you find the titles interesting.

    Thankfully, the films are presented with a Dolby Digital Mandarin track with English subtitles. The dialogue is squirrelly and the audio suffers from the same issues that the picture does, but it's still perfectly audible for the most part, and the subtitles are clear and timely.

    A trailer for each film is included in its respective sub-menu.

    The Final Word:

    It's no Criterion, but it's still way better than PD. Shout! presents two titles starring acclaimed action star Pei-Pei Cheng, and if you're a fan, this is a dandy little package that won't break the bank.







    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Tiger Bone Wine.