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Warriors Two

cast: Sammo Hung, Leung Kar-yan, Fong Hak-on, and Casanova Wong
director: Sammo Hung
91 minutes (18) 1978
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Hong Kong Legends DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
Failed businessman 'Fatty' Fei Chun is a disciple of the Wing Chung school, as is bank cashier Hua. But the bank's owner is a notorious crime boss lying low - and he has plans to assassinate the village headman and take control of the whole place. Betrayed and masterless, Hua persuades Fatty's teacher, respected local healer Tsang, to train him for revenge. But, as the only ones standing up to the bullies, they are soon targeted, and it's left to the two mismatched disciples, and Tsang's niece, to save the village by wiping out the gang and their boss...

Based on the lives of two famous Wing Chung practitioners, Warriors Two is regarded as a classic martial arts movie, and it certainly has a lot going for it. The comic relief built around Fatty's disastrous business ventures and general incompetence may not be politically correct, but it does inject some character into the narrative. It's also good to see ordinary heroes who have everyday jobs, rather than fey young men raised in isolation who turn out to be the last scion of an aristocratic family. Tsang's training of his new disciple is also covered at some length, drawing us into the skills and philosophy of Wing Chung, and helping us identify with his struggle to attain revenge against impossible odds.

However, the engaging combination of character and action in the early part of the movie collapses halfway through, leaving us with 45 minutes of solid action, unbroken by anything but a very occasional quip. Very fine action it is too - but the key to tension and excitement is variety, and anything, however good, that goes on this long is bound to lose the audience eventually. By the final climactic showdown, you may find yourself caring considerably less than you did at the beginning.

Writer-director Sammo Hung bags the comic relief role of Fatty, leaving the gloriously named Casanova Wong with the more conventionally heroic Hua: both are impressive, in action and narrative. Steadfastly traditional, and hugely enjoyable despite its lack of variation towards the end, this is well worth a look.
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