Starring: Wai-Man Chan, Bolo Yeung, Fong Yeh, Chang Fan, Yuan Feng, Jackie Chan
Action Director: Corey Yuen
Stunt Coordinator: Jackie Chan
Assistant Stunt Coordinator: Yuen Woo Ping
Director: Choy Tak
1973 | 88 Minutes | Rated R
“What do you do with fools?” – Boss Chan
“We kill ‘em and dump ‘em.” – Chiang Tai
Like anyone else who would have seen the movie poster or trailer I picked up Chinese Hercules because of Bolo Yeung. The DVD even says “You’ve seen him in ‘Enter the Dragon’ and ‘Bloodsport,’ but nothing can prepare you for Bolo Yeung in ‘Chinese Hercules.’” You would think this would be 88 minutes of Bolo Yeung kickin’ ass. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. The film’s original title “Freedom Strikes a Blow” would have been more appropriate but Chinese Hercules sounds so much more awesome so I can’t really blame them.
Shen Wei Ta (Wai-Man Chan) is a talented martial artist. So talented that he kills his girlfriend’s brother in combat. Lee Hsi flees and begins working at a pier under a different name swearing never to fight again. When the pier boss, stops giving work to the men and begins having his hulking henchman Chiang Tai (Bolo Yeung) to beat up and kill the workers Lee Hsi is given no other choice than to break his vow of non-violence.
The storyline is about what can be expected from this level of martial arts movie. It serves one purpose – to get us through to the next fight.
Bolo Yeung finally shows up to save the movie at about 50 minutes in and proceeds to crush a man’s skull with his bare hands. Prior to that the movie is following Wai-Man Chan’s character who seems like a bit of a weeny. When I bought Chinese Hercules I thought it would be much closer to the movie I saw in the trailer – Bolo Yeung beating up tons and tons of guys until finally the good guy shows up but it is more like the good guy doesn’t fight anyone until finally Bolo Yeung shows up.
The martial arts are decent from Bolo Yeung and Wai-Man Chan but not so much from the other members of the cast. Everyone else just sort of looks like they are flailing punches at people and usually, rather than a fight, we just have people getting beaten down by a bunch of thugs. I’m alright with this though. It’s better than assuming that every person in China is a martial arts master.
Supposedly what little choreography there is here has some pretty big names behind it. The DVD case names Cory Yuen as the Action Director and IMDB names Jackie Chan and Yuen Woo Ping as Stunt Coordinator and Assistant Stunt Coordinator respectively. I realize that these guys weren’t the big names then that they are now but I’m still having a hard time believing that they all worked on this movie. IMDB also lists Jackie Chan as having an uncredited part as a thug. I looked for him but never spotted him. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t there though. Who knows.
Chinese is a fun, albeit brain dead martial arts movie. It’s not the type of movie people turn to when looking for a great martial arts experience but it’s worth the 88 minute viewing for a bit of fun.