The Hot, The Cool And The Vicious (1976)

Directed by
The Hot, The Cool & The Average
Reviewed by Simon on 2003-05-10

This independent kung fu film from 1976 was clearly made on very little budget, and with a script that is best described as "servicable". The son of a town mayor commits a murder and the local cop determines to bring him to justice. A renowned killer is in town, and clearly has an agenda of his own (but what?). Several other characters have their own mysterious intentions too... who will fight on whose side?

Compared to the Shaw Brothers productions of a similar time, Hot/Cool/Vicious does look very shabby... sets, costumes, locations, camerawork, script and acting all say "budget". As such, it's really only of interest to those looking for some kung fu. There's a reasonable amount of it to be found here, but the choreography and filming is unexceptional... however, the physical skills of the actors is pretty impressive. In particular, Tan Tao-Ling's legwork is superb.

There's little else to recommend though, so only recommended as a kung fu curio. I might have enjoyed the movie more had I been able to see it in its original language, of course. The Eastern Heroes DVD has a passable widescreen print and a Mandarin audio track, but no English subtitles - so the only way for me to understand it was through the English dub (and I hate English dubs). Pure laziness and lack of care for their customers, but I doubt anybody expects anything else from them.