Yuen Biao plays Mousy, a clumsy and cowardly laundry boy who has trouble with confrontation. Everyone but him is good at martial arts, but he must find the courage within when a rival school to his master harbours a psychotic killer.
The movie has a reputation for being well paced, even though the fights are not until the end, the movie has some great scenes. The lion dance, the Eagle Claw laundry training, it always entertains. Especially creepy is the theatre fight scene, in which Mousy's buddy Ah Foon must fight a creepy two headed demon mask fighter.
Boasting a highly inventive fight scene at the end where Mousy fights the killer with the only martial arts attack his sister taught him, Dreadnaught is a fine martial arts film.
Impressed with how amazing traditional style choreography can be, (Yuen Wo Pings and Yuen Biao's old stuff never fails to impress!), especially with the Lion Dance and Kwan Tak Hing curing his patients with medicinal fire.
amazing traditional martial arts, acrobatics from Peking Opera and some great old school martial art stunts (the lion dance on the bridge of stools). All expected from an old kung fu filick!
Note: Chris O'Donnel in Batman Forevers tries to shamelessly copy off Yuen Biao's atheletism, artisitry and flexiblity. Only to fail, as Yuen Biao has an amazing size where he is drying and wringing laundry using his toes, ankles and feets, and showing of amazing choreogrpahy flexiblity mixed artistically into a fiction martial arts forms.
Chris O'doneel as a simialr scene in Batman Forever and it is just crap! LOL!
Also stars the Kwan Tak-Hing (75 years old and still lethal) who plays Wong Fei Hong, the legendary Chinese folk hero. Kwan has played Wong Fei Hong over a hundred times that it's not hard to believe people actually believing that he's the real Wong Fei Hong.
There are some classic scenes here particularly the Lion Dance sequence. Forget what you see during Chinese new year in Ongpin or Chinatown or most commercial establishments. This is the real deal. (I've uploaded the video)
Yuen Woo Ping, most famous for his action choreography in the Matrix and Kill Bill directs this one. So expect great action fight scenes.
Part action, part comedy, this is a real gem among vintage Hong Kong movies. These types of movies were very popular during the 1980s and up to now, these movies are definitely worth watching again and again.
Boredom Factor: 2/10
Talk to Action Ratio: 3:7
Fight Choreography: 7/10
Watch Again Rating: 7/10
Again, set in Ming Dynasty China, this film sees the plight of Mousy (Biao), who happens to be a very shy, in-confident, and even cowardly laundry worker. His nature is revealed when we witness him trying to collect laundry debts from various townspeople - they push him around and give him nothing.
All the while, an evil and eccentric killer "White Tiger" takes pleasure in terrorising anyone who happens to be around, and, unfortunately for Mousy, he seems to be high on Tiger's list. But, again, like most Kung Fu films, it's not so much what is done, but rather how they do it. Thankfully, Dreadnaught does well in it's direction and choreography, but it does not excel.
Credits list Biao as the star, but I believe Leung Ka-Yan (who is Mousy's older brother in the film) deserves equal billing - they certainly have equal screen-time. "Foon", played by Ka-Yan, is a more well-rounded martial artist, and a student of the legendary Wong Fei Hung (played brilliantly and hilariously by Kwan Tak-Hing a la "Magnificent Butcher). The scene involving a rather violent tailor is worth the sitting alone.
Dreadnaught seems more of an unfocused film as compared to Woo Ping's other work(s). "Drunken Master" for example had a clear, snappy and balanced screenplay. We knew where we were supposed to be at in terms of all the plot elements. Dreadnaught fails on these grounds, and it's action sequences do not mesh pleasurably with the dialog as they do in Drunken Master.
I was expecting a "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" for Yuen Biao, but rather, I see this film as three main action sequences starring various cast, tied together with the broad characterisation of Mr. White Tiger. It is by far one of the better Kung Fu films out there, but I'm afraid Yuen Woo Ping's other works do the same thing but better.