Director: Lau Kar Wing
Writer: Raymond Wong, Lai Wai Man
Producer: Karl Maka
Cast: Sammo Hung, Lau Kar Wing, Leung Kar Yan, Mars, Lee Hoi San, Dean Shek Tien, Yeung Sai Gwan, Karl Maka, Billy Chan Wui Ngai, Peter Chan Lung, Benny Lai Keung Kuen, Lam Ching Ying, To Wai Wo
Running Time: 97 min.
Another of Sammo Hung’s comedic period kung fu films, this time with him and Lau Kar Wing each playing two of the four main characters. The first pair to whom we are introduced are Naughty Old Man and Crazy Old Man, two old men (!!!) who each insist that their preferred weapon (spear and sword; don’t ask which is which) is superior and keep dueling each other to prove it. Inevitably, these bouts conclude in draws. They decide to train one pupil each and have them carry on the tradition. So, the old Lau Kar Wing recruits the young Sammo Hung, a ferryman, to learn spear fighting, and the old Sammo Hung sets the young Lau Kar Wing’s house on fire to convince him to be his sword fighting student. I had a 9th grade science teacher who liked to set things on fire, but never a whole house. Not that his students knew about, anyway…
Rigorous training ensues, sporadically interrupted for some lame-ass bit of lame-ass comedy, such as Dean Shek’s guest appearance as “Mr. Rocking.” In typical Sammo fashion, the crux of the story, if it can so be called, pops up late in the film, and, not coincidentally, it gets a lot better from there. Leung Kar Yan is a fighter whom the two old men shamed into retirement some years back, and when they arrive at his stronghold to free their captured pupils, a fair amount of hell breaks loose. After about an hour of mostly training sequences and buffoonery, the ass-ripping fight choreography here is doubly welcome. It continues throughout most of the movie’s remainder, culminating in a very predictable conclusion: the two young students…who, by now, have become allies out of necessity…have their fated duel, and lo and behold, neither of them can best the other. “So neither the sword nor the spear is the king of weapons,” says the superfluous narrator. “It is human affection which is invincible.”
Well, the movie is still pretty good. I normally dislike the excessive silliness in films of this type, but here, it’s bearable. A satisfactory, if not exceptional, Sammo entry.
Numskull’s Rating: 7/10
This movie is awesome! Lau Kar Wing and Sammo are absolute masters – just look how skilled these guys are! Both handle their weapons with incredible expertise! Forget all the fancy wire enhanced flying sh*t: THIS is REAL kung fu! “The Odd Couple” is almost a flawless masterpiece. It showcases us the best weapon battles ever committed to celluloid. You don’t even want to hope for a fistfight, these sword/spear duels are absolutely fantastic! I can’t believe that anybody likes them patchy Jackie oldies nor that dated Bruce Lee shit over this one. The cassette cover says “choreography here rivals even with the best work of Jackie Chan” or something like that which is quite funny because Jackie was one of the fight choreographers. What’s also funny is this whole movie itself.
The plot is actually based on one invention: “Hey, let’s make a movie where Lau Kar Wing plays an old master of the spear and Sammo Hung plays an old master of the sword and the every ten years these too guys have duel which ends up as a draw every single time!” “Yeah, that’s funny! But I came up with an even FUNNIER idea: let’s make Sammo play also old Lau’s new student and then of course Lau plays old Sammo’s young student!” “Now THAT’S funny! And then these younger guys also duel and are equal as well!” But there can’t be only fights that always end up as a draw, so they threw in an common enemy (Leung Kar Yan) who has been beaten by both old masters and then trained himself for a re-match.
The comedic play between the two main heroes is surprisingly good, but for some stupid reason they hired Dean Shek for a cameo role [involving a disgusting scene where he disgorges eggs]. Besides that, “The Odd Couple” is a top notch film and a must see for every martial arts fun. The best weapons movie ever made.
Perkele’s Rating: 9.5/10