|Heroes of the East (1979)|
|Starring:||Gordon Liu, Yuka Mizuno and Yasuaki Kurata|
|The Plot: Ah To (Gordon Liu) is the son of an important businessman who is being forced into a marriage with a Japanese girl. He at first hates this fact but soon finds love with young Kuda. After the dust settles and the honeymoon is over though, it turns out that his new Japanese wife is addicted to martial arts and has to practice her Karate and Judo at all times. She is soon breaking through brick walls in the courtyard and smashing everything in her way, and rumor gets out that Gordon Liu is being beaten by his own wife! The two get involved ina series of contests between martial arts and Gordon continually schools the young Japanese Karate master with Chinese kung fu. When she has had enough of his dismissal of Japanese karate, she heads back to Japan. Ah To, seeing no way of getting her back, is convinced by one of his friends to send a scathing letter to her dismissing Japanese martial arts. When she receives the letter however, her master and sifu takes challenge with this and an epic showdown between Chinese Kung Fu and Japanese karate is on the way!|
As stated, the film doesn’t exactly alleviate all of the issues between the Chinese and the Japanese but it does a decent job of portraying a slightly more open minded view of the debate between countries. While Gordon Liu does indeed trounce every Japanese fighter he comes in contact with, the Japanese fighters are at least shown to be dignified warriors. Their skill isn’t shown to be any less than the Chinese ultimately, since Gordon Liu is nearly godlike in his skill level here, but the lack of even-ground for both techniques is slightly disconcerting. What does one expect from a Hong Kong film marketed towards patriotic Chinese though? It would be hard to imagine Gordon Liu being beaten by a Japanese fighter with that in mind.
Gordon Liu impresses in one of his few performances where he actually sports a full head of hair and it actually makes him look quite young. Who am I kidding, even at age fifty the man looks good for his age. Liu is in high spirits here as he deftly represents Chinese martial arts and does so with the chops that only he had. Although there isn’t any one big training sequence here, as he and his brother were both known for, there is a funny bit where Liu has to learn drunken boxing by sending his servants to fight with a local master who accepts no students. The drunken old man continues to trounce the servants while Liu sits in the background mimicking his style in order to the movements down. The scene did feel a bit tacked on but it was so clever that you can’t help but enjoy yourself. As always, an impressive and very different form of martial arts cinema from these two great family members.