The Lady is the Boss (1983)Director: Lui Chia-liang
Starring: Lui Chia-liang, Hui Ying-hung, Hsiao Hou, Gordon Liu, Chang Chan-peng, Wang Yu, Mai Tak-lo, Wang Lung-wei, Ku Feng, Lung Tien-chung
Tagline: Kung Fu disco BMX cowboy leatherman gay-dressing superstar!
The above line provides all the reasons you should watch this movie as all of these things appear in it. If you still need more convincing then I should tell you a bit about the story.
When a Kung Fu school is forced to move to make room for road works, they ask their founder for help as their school has only five students. The teacher Hsien-yin (Lui Chia-liang) is very strict and stuck in his ways so they are all surprised when the founder instead sends his daughter Mei-ling (Hui Ying-hung) to take over the school.
She has lots of new ideas and proceeds to go on a promotion drive (with a great scene cross-promoting Shaolin Prince outside the old REX theatre.) It doesn't turn out too well and the students all end up being arrested.
Not one to take a setback lightly, Mei-ling instead hits on the idea to target dope smoking disco dancing teenagers. They hit the town in their new disco clothes in what has to be one of the highlights of the movie. On arriving at the disco they try out their kung fu disco moves and proceed to beat up a local though and also win a whole load of new students including a dancing cowboy, jiving leatherman and some people interested in 'gay dressing'. When the teacher comes back he is appalled and storms off as he thinks the school is going down the drain.
The new students go well with the old students acting as instructors and Mei-ling stepping in at the right moment to stop any conflict. Unfortunately for them some of their students are hostesses and when they start using their moves on their clients, the local gang gets annoyed which draws them into conflict with the school.
Mei-ling goes to check on the students, but is beaten up and held herself and the old teacher and the other students have to help her. The teacher promises to pay them back for the damage due to Mei-ling trashing the place, but she has other ideas and the conflict starts to heat up.
I thought this movie was very refreshing after all the traditional Kung Fu movies I have seen, even if it is endearingly stupid at times. The fashion is weird and seems to be a combination of disco and 80s rap as there are some very bad clashes. In some ways this movie is a spiritual brother to the famous Disco Dancer from India as it reminded me of that movie in parts. It also shares some similarities with BMX Bandits in one scene, but as Nicole Kidman also played a ninja in one of her movies I would call it even.
It is great to see Gordon Lui and Wang Yu playing non-traditional characters as Gordon Lui in particular looks great in his disco clothes. I didn't notice the music as much but it does seem to be the generic disco sort of stuff that suits the theme.
There is also some great action throughout the movie and in the big climax at the gang's gym with each of the main characters getting their turn to fight. As usual in a comedy no one really gets badly hurt and the bad guys turn out to be not so bad after all.
I would recommend this movie if you are sick of the usual martial arts movies and want something campy to watch. It would also be a great party film as there is lots to laugh at and the potential for many a drinking game.