Saturday, January 2, 2016

Slaughter in San Francisco (1974)

Original title: Huang Mian Lao Hu

Director: Wei Lo

Writer: Wei Lo

Composer: Joseph Koo

Starring: Chuck Norris, Don Wong, Chuck Boyd, Sylvia Chang, Yuet Sang Chin, James Econmonides, Robert J. Hercuth, Dan Ivan, Robert Jones, Ching-Ying Lam, Bob Talbert

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Chuck Norris Explodes Across the Screen!

Plot: A Chinese-American cop, skilled in martial arts, battles the most powerful criminal gang in San Francisco that is responsible for the death of his partner.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

This is my second foray into the world of Chuck Norris and, again, this probably isn't one to start on.  What really sucks is watching most chop socky flicks like this in fullscreen and in VHS quality.  The fights are hard to appreciate because your viewing area is so small and you're not seeing the bigger picture (literally and figuratively).  This film, according to IMDb was shot in a ratio of 2.35:1.  That's a long way off from what I watched at 1.33:1.  I've searched and searched and couldn't find a widescreen print of this.  It's probably sitting in someone's private collection and they're asshole enough not to lend it out for a transfer.  It's really a shame considering this is one of Norris' earliest roles.  It's cool that he's the bad guy.  What's better is that everyone, including Norris, is dubbed and the dubbing is just as bad as most of the 70s chop socky pictures.  That's a good thing.  What's not so good?  It's slow and that makes the 86 minutes too much.  There's not much in the way of filler but the story could be cut back some.  Hell, seeing a nice widescreen print of this would help but it's really hard to say without having it.  It's cheesy and sometimes fun and it's neat to see Norris so hairy and young...and dare I say sexy?  No, I can't.

I'm finding his fighting slow.  Is that the case with most or all of his fights?  I know he was young into his career at this point but by then he was still a highly regarded martial artist.  His fight in this film has lots of staged and slow bits.  It often looks like he's working the routine through in his head instead of letting the actions flow organically.  I hope he got better.

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