Big Boss From Shanghai (HK 1979)

Rating: **
Release Date: 12/26/00
Alternate Title: Iron Monkey 2 (Xenon re-issue)
Cast: Chen Kwan Tai, Judy Lee (Chia Ling), Lo Lieh

Sigh. Another re-issue by Xenon Entertainment whose real title is lost, but I'm going out on a limb and guessing that it's "Big Boss From Shanghai." It is most certainly not "Iron Monkey 2," as the only connection it has with the original "Iron Monkey" (1977) is actor Chen Kwan Tai. (this would be like re-releasing "Corvette Summer" as "Star Wars 2" simply because Mark Hamill starred in both of them) Yet more undeniable evidence that Xenon has no respect for their material and even less respect for their target audience. But I digress... This movie just barely makes it into the "mildly entertaining" category for two reasons: 1) Judy Lee and 2) a satisfying kung fu climax. A sneaky villain assumes the role of the emperor and kills the emperor's wife after she realizes he's an imposter. He frames an innocent man for the murder and Inspector Coolhead (Chen Kwan Tai) is called in to investigate. (Hee, hee, Inspector Coolhead...) The man is arrested and convicted, but Coolhead suspects something fishy is going on and continues his investigation. Meanwhile, the convicted man's sister (bratty Judy Lee) has her own score to settle with Coolhead, and after much squabbling they end up helping each other. Most of the film is tedious and tiresome, and the choppy editing ruins any chance of a cohesive narrative. However, the film pays off in its exhausting climax with Chen Kwan Tai facing off with perennial villain Lo Lieh, and even though she only has a peripheral role, Judy Lee's three or four fights are quite entertaining.