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Odd Couple
cast: Sammo Hung, Lau Kar-wing, Leung Kar-yan, Lung Chan, and Lam Ching-ying

director: Lau Kar-wing

90 minutes (12) 1979
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Hong Kong Legends DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
Every year, two martial arts masters, the King of Sabres (Sammo Hung) and the King of Spears (Lau Kar-wing), meet for a timed ritual duel to prove whose weapon is the better. But every year ends in a draw, and they're getting old, and too familiar with one another to kill. So they decide to take pupils, who will learn all their skills and duel on their behalf. The King of Sabres selects watermelon salesman Stubborn Wing, who certainly lives up to his name; the King of Spears selects boatman Fatty. But, by the time the pupils are ready to duel, a mutual enemy has appeared, and the pupils must learn to overcome the enmity drilled into them by their masters, and band together in order to defeat him.

There's nothing terrifically original about this martial arts potboiler, but it is made with an infectious sense of fun that makes it an enjoyable evening's entertainment. Not content with donning grey wigs and silly eyebrows to play the two masters, Hung and Lau double as each other's pupils, giving them a chance to show off their skills with both weapons. A comedy subplot involving Master Rocking, an ancient Chinese version of The Simpsons' Disco Stu, adds a decidedly surreal touch, and the recruitment and training of the pupils provides more slapstick humour.

Odd Couple (aka: Bo ming chan dao duo ming chuang) isn't profound or groundbreaking, but it's not meant to be; and it's certainly more entertaining than most equivalent Hollywood action-comedies. If you're in the mood for some highly skilled and inventive martial arts, and a few laughs along the way, this is the ideal film for you.

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