Chase Step By Step (Taiwan 1974)

Rating: **
Review Date: 3/23/10
Cast: Hsu Feng

A shipment of gold is sent to a drought stricken province, but for some inexplicable reason, the government can't supply an escort for it. Instead, two circus performers are ordered to see the gold safely to its destination, and they must deal with increasingly dangerous bandits every step of the way. You really have to wonder about the geniuses that came up with that idea. Actually, they spend about as much time arguing with each other as they do fighting bandits, which makes you wonder how they'll ever succeed in their mission. Fortunately, they're both extremely proficient in kung fu, which raises the question of why the circus angle was introduced in the first place.

The plot is exceedingly simple: Two people transport a chest of gold from Point A to Point B, and get ambushed by bandits every ten minutes or so. While the focus of the film is on the male lead, the real star is the ferociously beautiful Hsu Feng. Her fierce intensity, burning glare, and bitchy pout outperform everyone else in the film, and she doesn't pull any punches. She's absolutely marvelous, and her fight scenes are quite satisfying. The production values are decent, but there are a lot of shots that are out of focus. The DVD is a pan-and-scan mess, so much of the action is lost offscreen. Overall, it's an unremarkable kung fu outing that's saved only by Ms. Feng's charms and charismatic presence.