HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  3 and a Half Kung Fu Girls Girls just wanna kick butt
Year: 1978
Director: Chan Jun-Leung
Stars: Elsa Yeung Wai-San, Sun Chia-Lin, Yueh Hua, Li Min-Lang, Ma Cheung, Hui Bat-Liu, Lee Teng-Tsai, Wu Jia-Shan, Chin Po, Chin Tu, Yu Bong, Lee Tiu
Genre: Comedy, Martial Arts, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: In a bid to get their accident prone father elected sheriff, pigtailed kung fu queen Phoenix Huo (Elsa Yeung Wai-San) and her similarly badass kid sister Little Chicken stage a spectacular acrobatic display. However Old Huo's bitter rival, greying martial arts matriarch Shui, is also after the town vote. She has her equally skilled daughters Dragon Water (Sun Chia-Lin) and Lax (Wu Jia-Shan) try to upstage Huo’s kung fu kids at every turn. Both sets off wannabe law enforcers then intervene to prevent the suicide of the dejected De Flato (Li Min-Lang). He despairs because his wife has been kidnapped by Oolong, a mysterious, gold devil-masked cult leader so evil he scares both Madame Shui and Old Huo. All three and a half kung fu girls set forth on an adventure to rescue De Flato's wife, squabbling every step of the way.

By the late Seventies martial arts filmmakers were spoofing the plot tropes and genre motifs that drove many seminal works earlier that decade. Jackie Chan, for example, became a star by poking fun at the old "downtrodden guy learns kung fu from a kindly old master" trope in his breakthrough films Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978) and Drunken Master (1978). In a similar vein 3 and a Half Kung Fu Girls (also known as simply Kung Fu Girls or less flatteringly 3 and a Half Dumb Kung Fu Girls) takes aim at female-led wu xia films that dominated the Hong Kong and Taiwanese box-office. As if to underline the joke, in a nod to the wu xia film that started it all, genre veteran Yueh Hua more or less reprises his role from Come Drink With Me (1966) as a super-badass martial arts master disguised as a humble beggar. Although Hua is personable as always his presence lends an otherwise good-natured, if ramshackle, parody a bit of a sour undertone. Whereas in the previous decade women dominated martial arts cinema, here they are played as semi-competent (albeit still way more badass than in most mainstream fare) goofballs that eventually need to be bailed out by a big strong man. It took several more years and the rise of the '80s girls-with-guns subgenre - e.g. Yes Madam (1985), Angel (1987), She Shoots Straight (1990) - before balance was restored.

A zany Benny Hill style fast-motion opening title credit set to a bizarre electronic score establishes 3 and a Half Kung Fu Girls is going to be a really weird ride. Indeed leading lady Elsa Yeung Wai-San ought to be enshrined in the weird kung fu movie hall of fame. Though less of a cult figure than similar genre divas Polly Shan Kwan and Pearl Chang Ling, Yeung Wai-San etched quite the filmography of wildly imaginative fare: e.g. Bruce, Kung Fu Girls (1976), Thrilling Bloody Sword (1981) (where she is the wicked queen in a kung fu rendition of Snow White), Golden Queens Commando (1984) and Challenge of the Lady Ninja (1984). Here she is an appealing presence as the pigtailed, perpetually smiling Phoenix, mugging enthusiastically throughout a ramshackle plot laden with pratfalls and cartoon sound effects. It is really just a string of skits, some in questionable taste, many others simply laboured and tiresome.

The second act gets badly bogged down in dire sex comedy antics at the town brothel although having Dragon Water and Lax go undercover as prostitutes only to run into Phoenix posing as a male client is mildly funny. At one point the film even pulls off a Scooby-Doo style montage of characters running in and out of various doors. Happily the third act kicks things up a notch or two. Chan Jun-Leung, who went on to direct superior children’s fantasies Child of Peach (1987), Hello Dracula 5: The 3D Army (1989) and Dragon Ball: The Magic Begins (1991), ditches the dumb comedy and goes full wu xia surrealism. Our kung fu girls take on masked cultists, a mute magician who stages David Copperfield like tricks while adopting different disguises (including a very good Zatoichi impression) and a giant, poison-spewing kung fu frog. Also thrown into the mix: a genuinely unexpected twist. Even so as wu xia spoofs go this pales beside David Chiang's far wittier and more energetic Legend of the Owl (1981).


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1209 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: