When you thinks of kung-fu movies two names usually comes to mind, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. However, though they entertained us all with the one inch punch and the snake fist style, they were not the only talented fighters out there.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s other stars of the jade screen were showing off some of their own talents such as, Liu Chia Liang (aka The Pops), Gordon Liu, Hsiao Hou, and the impressive female fighting ace, Hui Ying Hung.
Liu Chia Liang
Liu Chia Liang not only starred in Shaw Brothers movies, but he directed some of them and choreographed the action . His roles has often been that of a kung fu master, farther, uncle or hermit. His fighting technique was called Hung Gar Kung fu, but he is also known for using untold animal forms like in the movie Mad Monkey Kung Fu where he and Hsiao Hou display the monkey style with perfection.
His movies tend to show that arm and finger strength is very important when training in kung fu. Liu Chia Liang’s other starring credits are My Young Auntie (director), Legendary Weapons Of China and Samo Hung’s ever enjoyable Pedicab Driver. His directorial efforts are Dirty Ho, New Killers In Town(starred), Tiger On The Beat and Drunken Master 2 & 3 (starred).
Gordon Liu who appeared in a number of movies directed by Liu Chia Liang, has often played the part of a Shaolin monk or abbot. His most memorable movie is with out doubt, The 36 Chambers Of Shaolin where he learns how to train his body for combat and masters a variety of weapons after his family and business are destroyed by the local government.
After all his vigorous training is complete, he faces the legendary bad guy, Lo Lieh for an all out final. Liu’s display of the 3 Section Staff, Sword and other deadly weapons is riveting. He was cast in the two Kill Bill movies, broadening a wider appeal to new audiences and bringing awareness to his legendary talents. His other movie appearances include, Dirty Ho, Treasure Hunters(supporting role), Return To The 36 Chambers, Shaolin and Wutang and Jet Lee’s The Last Hero In China.
Hsiao Hou just like Gordon Liu, has starred in many of Liu Chia Liang movies. He was best known for his role in Mad Monkey Kung Fu. The movie starts where Mr Chen (Liu Chia Liang) and his sister ( Hui Ying Hung) are invited to an old friends home (Lo Lieh), after watching a stage play, but once they get there, Lo manages to gently persuade Chen in to drinking and show off his kung fu in order to set him up. Lo knows that his weakness has always been alcohol .
Eventually one glass lead to another and before you know it, he’s under the influence. He’s led to a room to lay down. He awakes next to a lady who wrongly accuses him of assault. Lo Lieh order his hands to be crippled by beating them.
Now living as a recluse he earns money as a street performer for the locals. The tax collectors turn up and take all his hard earned money. A member of the audience known as Monkey (Hsiao Hou) befriends him and both help each other to make a living. Monkey knows nothing about Martial Arts, but is quickly trained in the art of monkey kung fu by Chen.
Once his training’s complete they both go on a kung fu rampage to bring about justice in their home town. The final showdown is spectacular as they take a stand against Lo Lieh and his henchmen.
Hui Ying Hung
One of the most entertaining movies Hui Ying Hung has made is My Young Auntie. This movie is jam-packed with non-stop kung fu from beginning to end with a clean slice of comedy and a great storyline that keeps your eyes glued to the screen. When Ah Tao (Hsiao Hou) comes home after spending the season in college he finds out that the young woman in his home is actually his auntie (Hui Ying Hung) who his father says he must respect, he decides to rebel and refuses to call her auntie causing her much disappointment.
Eventually, he accepts her position. Auntie explains to Ah Tao and his farther that she married a senior member of their family to protect the families asset, but another member of the family (Lung Wei) and his children are trying to get their hands on them, to use them for their own evil deeds. This erupts into constant encounters with hired henchmen. In the end, both sides of the family face off for an all-out jaw dropping, kung fu finale.
After the release of this movie, Hui Ying Hung became a recognised female kung fu star. This is one of Shaw Brothers best productions and a must-see for fans of kung fu movies.