Dirty Ho (1979) Dirty Ho

Dirty HoDirector: Chia-Liang Liu

Starring: Yue Wong, Chia Hui Liu, Lieh Lo

Tagline: Not starring Paris Hilton…

I admit that the main reason I bought this film was for the title and I probably got more satisfaction out of telling people I had ordered a ‘Dirty Ho’. Also the order was lost in the mail, so I got to write a ‘where’s my Dirty Ho?’ letter. Apart from that I was also interested in seeing Chia Hui Liu’s performance as Mr Wang as he was great in both the recent Kill Bill movies.

For those of you interested in 1970’s kung fu action movies, I would probably recommend Five Venoms or Crippled Avengers before this movie as fighting is not the main focus of this film. It is meant to be a comedy, but I found the scenes more weird than anything else. Case in point is the scene with the effeminate ‘Seven Bitters of East River’, which mainly consists of Yue Wong’s character punching a fat man in the stomach.

Even though Yue Wong gets equal billing as He Chih, Chia Hui Liu steals the show and commands respect on screen. He also gets most of the best lines and great action scenes. Also the fact that Yue Wong’s character looks like a dork for most of the movie with a square of paper stuck on his forehead.

The opening sequence showing the history of the two main characters played in front of a white backdrop is great and has a 70’s style soundtrack. If they had wanted to I reckon it would have worked to do the whole film like that.

I found the story a bit hard to follow at times, but it begins with a dispute between He Chih and Mr Wang in the floating brothel over who can get the most ladies and escalates until Wang decides to teach He Chih a lesson and tricks him into being his student.

There is also a plot concerning Mr Wang’s real identity, which leads to some cleverly staged fight scenes where Wang is trying to conceal his identity while fighting the assassins. These include the wine tasting from hell and a killer antiques exhibition.

He Chih is oblivious to the fighting during these confrontations, but does manage to save the day in the end.

Towards the end of the movie it does become a more traditional kung fu movie, with our two heroes taking on a bunch of archers using a wheelchair and paper umbrellas.

The final showdown with General Liang (Lieh Lo) also doesn’t disappoint.

Overall, I wouldn’t rush to see this film, but if you are a fan of Chia Hui Liu’s work and have seen a lot of other 1970’s Shaw Brothers movies then I would recommend it.

Rating: 6/10

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