Lan tou He / Dirty Ho

Lan tou He / Dirty Ho (1979)

I deserve an award for googling the best cover possible

Director: Lau Kar Leung
Writers: Ni Kuang
Date: 1979

Genre: Kung Fu
Description: Prince trying to hide his princeship, secret identity, trying to hide his kung fu skills, master and student, returning home, brother against brother

Cast: Gordon Liu Chia-hui, Wong Yue, Lo Lieh, Wang Lung Wei, Kara Hui, Hsiao Hou

Crew of note:

Runtime: 97 mins.
Color: Color
Trivia:

summary
Wang is an alcohol drinking antique dealer with a secret identity. Ho is a common thief with average kung fu skills. Apparently, he’s also quite filthy, hence the title. They meet through a series of coincidences and amusing encounters, until Ho finally learns Wang’s secret. Ho becomes his kung fu disciple, and they must help each other survive their travels (and antique buying). But they are both being hunted down by merciless assassins who wish to keep Wang from returning home.

review

Kung Fu Movies Checklist of Asskicking Baddasery
1. Gordon Liu with a mustache and beard.
2. Unlikely duo or master-student relationship.
3. Elaborate training session that probably wouldn’t work in real life.
4. New twist on kung fu style or delivery (secret kung fu).
5. Evil villain with unlimited henchmen.
6. Non-weapon object used during combat.
7. Heroes taking on multiple villains.
8. Final battle that lasts more than 3 minutes.
9. Shaw Brothers signature abrupt ending.
10. Hot Schoolgirls.

Total: 9/10

No wonder this is a masterpiece. Despite the absence of jawdropping, high-flying, arms-flailing kung fu, the way Gordon Liu tries to hide and subvert his kung fu skills while defending himself creates some of the most interesting situations ever. Comedy, kung fu, and art dealership, what more could you want?

conclusion
Kung Fu cinema was at its pinnacle during the 70s, with Shaw Brothers Studios doing most of the ass-whooping. Having used up every possible plot device (revenge, training, greed, crazy monkies) and fighting style (eagle claw, snake fist, centipede style, etc) conceivable, Lau Kar Leung, in a drunken stupor I imagine, said: “Why don’t we do kung fu.. by not doing kung fu!? NATCH!” (citation needed). And now this is regarded as one of the best in the genre. If you love kung fu movies, this is a must.

things to take note of
Gordon Liu shows that he can actually do more than just kick butt; I wish he’d done more comedy
Simple, yet intricate subverted kung fu

best moment
Han dynasty painting? 100 gold pieces. Qing dynasty chair? 150 gold pieces. Gordon Liu stroking his beard and talking about paintings and antiques? Priceless.

why you should watch this
Typing “Dirty Ho” in Google’s image search will get you interesting results
Gordon Liu subverts his kung fu badassery
Kung fu badassery

rating: 8.4

scorecard
Plot: B
Cast: B+
Cinematography: B
Music: C+
Entertainment: A

similar movies, maybe:
Wu du / Five Venoms directed by Chang Cheh, with the secret identities
Other Godron Liu movies, both directed by Lau Kar Leung:
Wu Lang ba gua gun / 8 Diagram Pole Fighter
Shao lin san shi liu fang / 36th Chamber of Shaolin / Shaolin Master Killer

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