Review: PEDICAB DRIVER 群龍戲鳳 (1989) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Review: PEDICAB DRIVER 群龍戲鳳 (1989)

Review: PEDICAB DRIVER 群龍戲鳳 (1989)

Sammo Hung stars as Fat Tung, a righteous pedicab driver who falls in love with a local baker girl Ping (Nina Li Chi). But the problem is Ping's master baker, Fong (Suen Yuet) happens to fall in love with her as well. On the other side of the story, Fat Tung's best friend nicknamed Malted Candy (Max Mok) happens to fall in love at first sight with a lovely girl named Siu Chui (Fennie Yuen). But he doesn't realise that Siu Chui is actually a prostitute, who later coincidentally slept with Malted Candy's playful friend, San Cha Cake (Lowell Lo) while visiting a brothel. A problem arises when a sleazy pimp named Master 5 (John Shum) finds out that Siu Chui tries to quit prostitution and ends up ordering his trusted high-kicking thug (Billy Chow) to locate the girl and killed anyone who involved with her escape.

REVIEW: Considered by many fans as Sammo Hung's finest masterpiece of all-time, PEDICAB DRIVER is an entertaining action comedy that is surprisingly hard to find on the video or DVD release (except for the one available in the UK). Other than that, it's pretty much an uneven mix of genre mishmash commonly seen in the '80s Hong Kong action-comedy cinema, and PEDICAB DRIVER suits the definition of its particular era well-intended.

Yuen Gai-Chi and Barry Wong's screenplay is terribly episodic and the kind which defy genre conventions. At times, the movie tries so hard to be melodramatic, funny and whichever appropriate that goes. It's almost something similar like the one from Jackie Chan's much-successful outing in MIRACLES (1989) with a handful of subplots slapped together into one movie.

Forget about the haphazard plot, because what matters the most is the term of entertainment Sammo Hung delivers here. And for that alone, the action sequences are remarkably top-notch. Among them are the memorable fight between Fat Tung and a casino owner/kungfu master (Lau Kar-Leung); the innovative pedicab chase sequence; and of course the final fight-to-the-death between Fat Tung and Billy Chow. As for the cast, the actors are pretty much in the game here, although there are some of them tends to overact a lot (particularly during the many melodramatic moments).

PEDICAB DRIVER doesn't really succeed as an entire whole, but as far as a '80s crowd-pleasing entertainment, this is just as good as it gets. While the movie doesn't exactly ignite fire in the box-office (which earns only $14 million), the movie managed to garner Best Action Design nomination (lost to Jackie Chan's MIRACLES) but won Best Original Song for So Noi and Lowell Lo's Pang Jeuk Oi (which literally translated as Relying on Love).

PEDICAB DRIVER manages to overcome its episodic yet haphazard plot with some of the best action sequences ever seen in a Sammo Hung movie.

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