THE LAMA AVENGER - THREE AVENGERS

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The Lama Avengers CoverNow you've heard of 'The Mighty' Avengers, and you've most probably heard of the 'West Coast' Avengers too, but have you ever heard of the 'Lama' Avengers? Yeah. I'm not twirling your noodles, pal! To see what I'm referring to, check out this film Directed by: Wah-Kei Wong; and Starring: Bruce Li. It was made in 1979, and lasts for about 84 minutes.


The Three Avengers


THE STORY:
Try to imagine that you're an unscrupulous property developer who's currently in the process of swindling a small village out of their rustic abodes. However, before you are able to accomplish this sordid task, two clowns called Hung and Choi (Bruce Li and Yuet Sang Chin) set up a martial arts school in the area, just after they get kicked out of the Pecking Opera for fighting with their classmates.

OK. So what are you going to do about it, pal? Get your clown of a nephew from out of town to penetrate their school?  You know. What's-his-name. That funky dancer. That crazy fighter. That skinny looking chap with the very nice beard, who looks' like he should sell car insurance. Jimmy.

HUH? What's that you say? Once Jimmy does what you ask him to do, over time these three clowns become firm friends! Going so far that they cement their union by eating snake butt!

Oh, dear. What next then? Order your henchmen to kick ass and take names? Concoct a cunning plan to discredit Hung and Choi's reputation?  Or why not just try and lynch them on the road for no apparent reason whatsoever?

Yeah. That could work. But prior you deciding what you should do, just remember that what next transpires all kicks off when a battle doesn't work out the way it should. As the first clown fly's off to mars - the second clown sees the Hollywood stars - the third clown is crippled and sent to prison - plus look out world, Lee Hoi Sang has finally risen. Hai-Yah!!!


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THE REVIEW:
Now as I sit here in front of my laptop, trying to think of something nice to write about 'The Lama Avengers'... errr... hmm... I can't. I can't because this bi-polar production is one hell of a mother to praise.

Well, how can I put it? Although I did like most of the fights on display, at the same time they were rather long-winded in execution. Although I was very intrigued about the characters in this piece, in the same breath they weren't really established properly within its conceit. And although the underlining story was an enveloping one by nature, by in large the action plus the jovial antics diluted the essence of this tale by default.

The Lama Avenger
Granted, I could have also mentioned that the dubbing was sh*t, the cameraman appeared drunk on occasion, plus the numerous pieces of 'Bruce Lee themed music' did make it come across as an exploitative project. But I best not mention these things, huh? Instead, I'd rather relay these more intriguing filmic-facts. (1) This movie was released in Hong Kong on the same day that the Russian ballet dancer, Léonide Massine, died -- the 15th of March, 1979. Also, it was released in America on the same month the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was elected President of Iran -- October, 1981. (2) Jing Wong, who was one of the two writers on this flick, last known project was in 2012 for the Sammo Hung / Chow Yun-Fat melodrama, 'The Last Tycoon'. (3) Including 'The Lama Avenger' and 'Three Avengers', this film has also been labelled: 'Da chu tou' in Hong Kong; 'Le defi du ninja' in French-Canada; plus 'Dragon on Fire' and 'Enter Three Dragons' Internationally. (4) Not only does this movie have many-many names, but the director who directed it, Wah-Kei Wong, has many-many names too. Such as: Wa-kei Wong, Huaqi Huang, and Wah Kay Wong. His last filmic work was with Jacky Cheung in 1990, on a movie called 'Jue biu yat juk'. (5) When he began his acting career, Lee Hoi Sang was given a number of 'good guy roles' in the business as per normal. However, as time went on, the movie makers said that he looked like a 'bad guy' more than a 'good guy', and that was why he's famously been used as the 'token final fight villain' from then on in. (6) The production company attached to this film -- 'Eternal Film Company' -- ran from 1975 to 1985, and had firm links with the 'Shaw Brothers' movie studio. (7) Like Bruce Li and Hoi Lee before him, Yuet Sang Chin began his career by becoming a stuntman in the movies. His first proper acting gig was in the 1967 musical drama, 'Jing Jing'. (8) Even though he doesn't like being called Bruce Li, Taiwanese martial artist, Ho Chung-tao, is generally considered to be the most famous Bruce Lee imitator ever.


The Lama Avenger


OK. So where was I? Oh, yeah! 'The Lama Avengers'. A film that is so ying / yang, I can't seem to decide if I like it or not.

The Three Avengers Art Poster
Well, on a positive note, Bruce, Yuet, and Lee were very good in this movie; because they did have some genuine screen charisma during the fight scenes and certain plot-threads. Furthermore, I was taken in greatly by the last twenty minutes or so of this flick; and got a right kick out of the 'crippled dilemma', the 'movie segway', and the 'final fight end villain' as well.

On a negative note, though, the beginning of this film felt very-very amateurish, because the storyline didn't know what it wanted to be, and -- as I said previously -- the overall execution was pants to say the least.

Sorry 'The Lama Avengers'. I wanted to like you. Honestly I did. But to say you were a great film would be like me saying that I liked 'Scary Movie 2'.

And I can't have that now, can I? Nuff said.

THE RATING: C