Saturday, February 5, 2011

Kung Fu Humor: Flubbed Dubs + Review: Ways of Kung Fu (1978)

Ah, if there's one aspect to old school kung fu flicks that really brings me back to the days of my youth, it's a nice ridiculous English dub. Don't get me wrong, I do very much enjoy watching a film in it's original audio, but a classic dubbing job really gives me that ol' Saturday Afternoon "Black Belt Theatre" vibe! If someone ever played a kung fu movie drinking game, say "Count the 'You bastard!'s", then with the right movie you could get wasted in the first 20 minutes! What we have next is what I like to call a "Flubbed Dub." In other words, one of those moments where you're really not sure of what you just heard, or one of those "Did he REALLY just say that?!" moments! Sometimes they make no sense whatsoever, other times the character is stating the complete obvious, but most of the time you're either laughing, scratching your head in confusion, or both!

This first installment of Flubbed Dubs comes from "Ways of Kung Fu" (1978).

"What on Earth did you put in those buttholes?! (bottles)"

This movie centers around Ta Kung (Chi Kuan-Chun), a hapless student who refuses to learn kung fu because he doesn't like it. When a corrupt monk enters the temple, and continually humiliates Ta Kung, the head monk sends him to stay with Shang King (Leung Kar-Yan) and his family of kung fu experts, knowing that Ta Kung will eventually learn. Even after arriving, Ta Kung is still hesitant to learn kung fu, so Shang King puts him to work... Well guess what buddy, by fetching that water, and splitting those logs, you're learning kung fu! Ta Kung eventually realizes this and becomes Shang King's student. After two years of training, he feels he's ready to go get revenge on the renegade monk. He returns to the temple to face off against the monk and is nearly defeated, but Shang King shows up and is killed, allowing Ta Kung enough time to escape. Ta Kung then meets up with an old drunken master and his student (Meng Fei) and hones his kung fu skills. Then together, they go after the evil monk and defeat him.

This movie is fairly lackluster. The story is nothing new (are they ever?), but does provide a few occasional moments of excitement. There's a couple good training segments, and a couple good fights. The highlight of the film is a training fight between Ta Kung and Shang King outside in the rain where Beardy dons an umbrella as a weapon. The final fight between the corrupt monk and Ta Kung/Meng Fei is pretty good, including nice use of an iron ring, but the ending is abrupt and kind of a let down. Also a couple side plots were introduced but never really elaborated on, specifically the drunken master (who never teaches Ta Kung drunken boxing!) and a police constable who has apparently been after the corrupt monk for quite a while. It's worth a view if you're a fan of the genre, but not worth going out of your way to see it.

2 out of 5 Venoms

¹KUNG FU CLICHES: Classic dubbing, potty humor, freeze frame, bad skin.

Ways of Kung Fu trailer
"Buddha's name be praised..."


Bunche (pop culture ronin) said...

While perhaps not technically a dubbing error, there's that great bit in 7 BLOWS OF THE DRAGON where the villain is heard to shout, "Watch out! The Double-Kick of Death!!!" as Ti Lung fights some poor bastard, delivering what is quite visibly three kicks, not two.

Kevin Smith said...

Ah, Cockney dubbing! That is exactly how an East Londoner would say 'bottles'; a bit of Cockney livens up every Fu flick :)

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