Monday, March 02, 2009

Flash Legs (Shaolin Deadly Kicks)

Plot: A gang of thieves, the 'Eight Dragons' heist a rare artefact from a stately home, but are forced to kill a servant witness. Aware that there will be a manhunt, the leader (Lo Lieh) splits the (conveniently octagonal) treasure among the 8, with instructions to disperse and meet again in 3 years; the others grudgingly agree. We then move forward to prison where one of the dragons has been picked up and is put in with undercover constable Hung Yi (Tan Tao Liang), who engineers an escape to con the dragon into revealing the location of his treasure piece. This formula is repeated with Hung wearing some 'must try harder' disguises (e.g. shades and a fake 'tache) to trick the fast-depleting gang into giving up the remaining treasure segments. This culminates with some in-gang treachery, and a crazy, explosive finale.

Fights: With a title like Flash Legs you know what you're in for and this doesn't disappoint. Tan Tao Liang showcases his Taekwondo repertoire with some terrific combinations: low, high, reverse, jumping, flying; all executed with tremendous balance, speed and accuracy. He throws in some shapes too for variety. Standouts include a two-on-two against weapons; a cracking ruck against Kam Kong's gangster-turned-woodcutter where Tan's kicks are tested to the full against the huge tough and his staff; and some decent two-vs-one against top shapey dastard Lo Lieh for the finale.

Overall: 4 out of 5. Essential for kicking fans, with a clever premise. Loses a mark for some slow pacing and the confusing finale, which somehow manages to be explosive and a damp squib at the same time!

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