Country: Hong Kong
Genre: Action/ Martial Arts/ Romance
Director: Cheng Siu-Keung
TRASH CINEMA ESSENTIAL MOVIE
If you saw Sam The Iron Bridge 1: The White Lotus Cult, nothing could possibly prepare you for how much better the sequel, Sam The Iron Bridge 2: Champion Of Martial Arts is. Let us count the ways.
The script for the first movie was front loaded with a mindnumbing amount of characters and plot, and it turned out to be a simple movie at it’s heart. In contrast, the screenwriters of Sam The Iron Bridge 2: Champion Of Martial Arts, parcel out exposition so expertly that you don’t even know it’s there. What you experience is an endless rush of narrative.
And the story is compelling too, a timeless tale of the fight against the British opium trade with China through the evil East India Company, the Goldman Sachs of its day.
The dubbing on the first movie was horrible. The voice acting on Sam The Iron Bridge 2: Champion Of Martial Arts is excellent. I especially enjoyed the performances of Yue Hoi, Wong Kam-Kong, Fennie Yuen, and Yip Chuen-Chan. It doesn’t hurt that these last two ladies are gorgeous.
The general craft on Sam The Iron Bridge 2: Champion Of Martial Arts is at a very high standard indeed. The music is wonderful, a mix of traditional music, creative orchestral cues, and more modern sounds that nonetheless are never obtrusive. The sets and costumes are gorgeous.
But best of all, for fans of kung fu movies, the martial arts are stunning, thanks to the efforts of martial arts choreographers Jacky Yeung, Phillip Kwok, Dang Chiu-Yau, Wong Gwan-Hong, and Cho Wing.
There are two minor flaws in Sam The Iron Bridge 2: Champion Of Martial Arts, which prevent it from being a perfect kungfu flick. Sam is defeated early on by an opponent who uses the “bloody palm” technique. Later on, Sam is given a prized martial arts manual. You would expect Sam to learn some martial arts technique to counter the “bloody palm,” but Sam’s kungfu doesn’t look any different than it did before.
Now, I’m no kung fu expert, but I shouldn’t have to be to notice the difference in Sam’s fighting style. And what’s more, screenwriters Mak Chi-Shing and Yu Hon-Wing should have had Sam’s opponent point out the differences for us. That never happens.
The other minor problem, given the mindblowing kung fu sequences strewn throughout the film, is that the final fight, although tasty, isn’t epic enough. As exciting as it is, when it ends, I was thinking, “Is that all?”
But these are minor faults, just enough for me to subtract half a star, but not enough to make Sam The Iron Bridge 2: Champion Of Martial Arts less than an essential kung fu flick. Not to be missed.
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