Monday, November 29, 2010

Kidnap (1974) with Lo Lieh

At two hours, it's a bit too long but Kidnap (1974) is a fairly solid Shaw Brothers action drama. I'd go so far as to say it's a classic in some ways. Clearly more of a crowdpleaser than an attempt to further any particular genre, the film succeeds largely on the strength of the main leads who make up the gang of criminals.

The plot comes together with the introduction of hot-headed truck driver Tung Lam, gambler Lam Wai Tiu, and Fan Mei Sheng. Oh and did I forget leading man Lo Lieh? Not sure what his job is in the film but he's a bit of a scoundrel, shown by his shooting an air rifle at Hu Chin's ass at an amusement park.

Fan Mei Sheng's job involves gluing pubic hair onto strippers. Something like that. Hu Chin is a stripper too.

It's a blast seeing the actress in modern -- well, 1970s -- clothes and not some period piece sort of get-up. She and Lo Lieh look great in a sequence where they step out on the town.

Unfortunately, Lo Lieh gets humiliated -- and thrown down a flight of steps! -- by Danny Lau. He doesn't unleash a colossal kung fu beatdown on the guy which is a surprise.

No, he goes home to plot his revenge with his cronies.

Fan Mei Sheng's character goes back to his day job: a makeup artist at a film studio. He does that so he can get some prop guns and outfits and makeup for whatever heist Lo Lieh is planning.

The kidnapping plan doesn't go so smooth and soon the gang is blackmailing the victim's father Cheng Miu.

No more spoilers. Kidnap is a solid action flick set in 1974 Hong Kong. There's plenty of period flare and flavour here, and Lo Lieh is still somehow likeable even when playing such an obvious criminal.

Look for Ching Feng as a police detective.

An unusually strong ending makes Kidnap (1974) required viewing for fans of what the Shaw Brothers were doing in the modern setting in the 1970s.

You can order Kidnap on DVD here.