(image courtesy of Hong Kong Movie Database)
Director: Hua Shan
Fight Director: Yuen Cheung Yan
starring Ho Chung Tao(Bruce Li), Ku Feng, James Griffith, Yuen Shun Yi, Peter Chan Lung, Mary Hon Ma Lee, Chaing Tao, Danny Lau
Plot: A cab driver (Bruce Li) who bares a resemblance Bruce Lee is recruited by two representatives of a talent agency (Mary Hon Ma Lee and Danny Lau) to try and re-create the kung fu boom started by the late Bruce Lee. They hire the well-known Teacher Chow (Ku Feng) to train him to fight in the upcoming full contact martial arts competition while a rival talent agency ran by a foreigner (James Griffith) uses underhanded tactics to get Li to sign with them.
Martial Arts Content:
Fight direction on this superior Bruce Li effort is handled by a member of the famous Yuen Clan, Yuen Cheung Yan and features Bruce Li in one of his finest screen performances. The fights are less stylized due to the setting (1970’s Hong Kong and America) and feature less pretty kung fu, but more direct and powerful “street” kung fu fighting. Yuen Cheung Yan does an good job of utilizing the strengths of Bruce Li and minimizes the “Bruce Lee” style antics that are present in some other Bruce Li movies. Li fights veteran Hong Kong bad guy Chiang Tao in a Karate Dojo, has a backyard fight with Lee Hoi San, and even matches fists with Ku Feng. The best duels come when Bruce Li fights American Karate great Steve Sanders ( Steve Muhammad) that starts in a hotel room and ends up in an underground garage. Yuen Cheung Yan utilizes Sanders speed and Kenpo prowess to good effect and highlights the natural contrast in styles between Sanders and Li. Check out that fight!
Dynamo is one of Ho Chung Tao’s (Bruce Li) best efforts and showcases the skill set that he has. It is also a look inside the Hong Kong film industry of the 1970’s and a commentary on what fame and fortune can do to someone. The story is good and Ku Feng as Teacher Chow really makes the movie as the seemingly un-caring kung fu teacher. There are some scenes that highlight the process of fight choreography and it makes me wonder what Ho Chung Tao really went through because he bore a resemblance to Bruce Lee. Ho Chung Tao showed more personality in this movie than he has in any other except The Lama Avenger ( review coming soon). Dynamo is an enjoyable look at the perils of resembling Bruce Lee in 1970’s Hong Kong. Check it out here and see for yourself.