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Original Title:
Fay lung kwo gong

Hong Kong 1978

Kung Fu, Comedy

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo
Roy Chiao
Fung Hark-On
Lam Ching-Ying
Leung Ka-Yan
Billy Chan

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Enter the Fat Dragon

Story: Lung (Sammo Hung) works on a small farm and feeds the pigs. One day he has the chance to go to Hong Kong to help out his uncle in his noodle shop. Just when he arrives, he suddenly has to deal with a gang, that is terrorizing his uncle's shop. Lung's enemies now have a problem, because Lung sees himself as the biggest Bruce Lee fan, thus he also imitates the movements and fighting skills of his big idol pretty good.
However, after his uncle's shop has been demolished in his absence anyway, Lung is forced to look out for a job somewhere else. With the help of two friends he gets a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant and helps his cousin to defend against a bunch of thugs, who want to force him to make fakes of some paintings for them.
It gets serious when one of the friends of Lung gets kidnapped by an exporter, who wants to sell the girl to the billionaire Pai. However, to save his friend, Lung first has to face the three bodyguards of Pai...

Review: "Enter the Fat Dragon" is one of the best and most entertaining works of Sammo Hung. Hung's imitation of Bruce Lee is memorable. He manages to copy every single gesture and movement of the legend perfectly. All the more impressive is his performance as he doesn't resemble his idol in any way, of course! About his pudginess he makes some jokes as usual, but his display of martial arts skills causes every Bruce Lee imitator to hide in shame. Sammo is fast and one of the best martial artists of his generation, which he proves here in best old-school-style.

"Enter the Fat Dragon" is in no way a parody on "Enter the Dragon", but more of a homage to Bruce Lee. Of course, there is the typical 70s look and even the music tries to be like the classic from 1973. The rest of the movie sometimes reminds us of some other Lee-movies, but on the whole Hung's movie stands on his own feet.
As a comedy the movie works sometimes pretty well, but now and then it doesn't. It just depends on how Sammo's or rather the 70s' humor works for you. Luckily, there aren't any overacted slapstick scenes. Most gags focus on Hung's grandiose gestures and imitation of Lee.

Then, there is also the action, of course. Sammo Hung doesn't just prove that he is a great martial artist, but that he is also a brilliant fight-choreographer. With ease he adapts to Lees fighting style (Jeet Kune Do) and he even does it with the necessary posing, of course including the legendary thumb-nose-move. Apart from that, he also has the chance to display his Kung Fu skills in two scenes. The fights are, wether it's against a whole army of enemies or if it's a 1-on-1, breathtaking and great to watch. Kung Fu fans will get their money's worth.

Thanks to fast pacing and excellent fights, the movie never gets boring, although the story is standard, natch, and even in the 70s wouldn't have drawn somebody from the woodwork. However, the story is just a means to an end to get Sammo Hung into lots of fights, and at the same time to deliver a few funny scenes. When Lung is chasing the cab, in which his cousin is sitting, who thinks that Lung is also sitting in it, and Lung finally enters the final showdown fully out of breath, well, that's funny. Bruce Lee, for sure, wouldn't have shown so much weakness. But even if he isn't one of the best regarding stamina, he then shows that he is as capable as Lee to adapt to the different fighting styles of the three bodyguards. Let it be Karate, Boxing or Kung Fu, Hung adapts himself to his enemies, which is of course his secret of success and also was Bruce Lee's.

Naturally, everyone is doing his own stunts, especially Sammo Hung, and you can see that the fighters are giving their best. On the acting level you shouldn't expect too much, but that's also not necessary for the movie to work. The side characters are at best two-dimensional and mostly seem to be right out of a comic, like Prof. Pai. Characters like the black person with afro-hairstyle, who is without a doubt a Chinese guy with too much color in the face, provide a cheery atmosphere. Besides, there are also some nice cameos, among others Yuen Biao and Eric Tsang, who weren't that well known at that time. So it's worth to keep your eyes open.

Some highlight is the scene, where Sammo deals with a Bruce Lee imitator and complains about the terrible performance. Sammo Hung has the right to do so, because he himself proves to be an excellent imitator. Great Kung Fu fights, lots of humor and a handful of self-irony make "Enter the Fat Dragon" an recommendable classic, that shouldn't be missed by any Sammo Hung-, Bruce Lee- or Kung Fu -fan!

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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