The Fearless Duo (1979, Hong Kong). Directors: Joseph Kuo & Fang Hsiang. Action director: Ho Chi-Wai.
I first saw this movie about 40 years ago. It was also the first time I ever saw Lau Kar-Yung or Hwang Jang-Lee onscreen.
Co-stars include Yuen Chu and Yuen Qiu (who play younger and older sisters, respectively).
Yuen Qiu (the ‘older sister’) is probably best-known for her role as ‘The Landlady’ in the 2004 film Kung Fu Hustle. But fewer people realize she also had a small role in the 1974 James Bond movie, The Man With the Golden Gun, as one of two young female martial arts experts who help Roger Moore/007 fight off a group of karate school lackeys. She was originally trained in Peking Opera. This movie showcased perhaps her longest and most involved fight scenes.
Today, Lau Kar-Yung is a legitimate master and international teacher of Hung Kuen kung fu. Now in his mid-60s, he is one of the relatively few old-school kung fu movie stars who are still actively promoting real-life martial arts to this day. It’s a bit surreal watching him doing comedy kung fu, as he did in this movie, especially some of his facial expressions during his final fight against Hwang Jang-Lee, and contrasting those with footage of him as a straight-laced master today (also posted below the movie video).
As was often the case, when real-life Korean Tae Kwon Do master Hwang Jang-Lee’s villain character is ultimately defeated by the heroes, it isn’t really convincing. That’s how physically dominant he was as an onscreen villain. Not only was Hwang renowned as the greatest kicker in martial arts cinema, he was unique in that he never believed in, nor ever practiced, leg stretching exercises for flexibility, because he believed that static stretching is harmful. He was the only superkicker who couldn’t do a split. He simply rolled his hips, shook out his body, and he was ready to go. His method worked for him; now in his mid-70s, Hwang is still an awesome kicker. Last I heard, he still teaches Tae Kwon Do/Tang Soo Do in Seoul, Korea.
This movie is literally chock full of fight scenes. I have only highlighted a few.
(From 42:44); Lau Kar-Yung & Yuen Qiu vs Chan Lau & To Wai-Woo:
(Final fight, part 1 (from 1:18:18); Yuen Qiu & Yuen Chu vs To Wai-Woo, Ho Kei-Cheong, Chan Ming-Wai & Ho Chi-Wai:
Final fight, part 2 (from 1:22:00); Yuen Qiu & Yuen Chu vs hooked sword fighters (Chan Ming-Wai & Ho Chi-Wai); Lau Kar-Yung & Yuen Chu vs Hwang Jang-Lee:
Recent forms demonstrations by Lau Kar-Yung: