Although he only portrayed the character for a handful of years, Siu Tin “Simon” Yuen is now one of the most iconic characters in all of kung fu movie history. Even if you haven’t seen the films, you know the character of the drunken master: happy glassy eyes, never without a jug of rice wine, a wide mischievous smile and a sloppy, drunken kung fu that seems to get more effective (and sloppy at the same time) with every tilt of the jug.
An Old Kung Fu Master was co-directed by Meng-Hua Ho, a veteran of the industry. He had box office success prior to the kung fu explosion in the early 70s with films such as THE LONG CHASE (1971), THE JADE RAKSHA (1968) and VENGEANCE IS A GOLDEN BLADE (1969) and continued steadily working through the late 70s. AN OLD KUNG FU MASTER was one of his final films.
In this story, Siu Tin Yuen plays “Bamboo Stick” named of course for his weapon of choice. When a rich despot in town, AKA Iron Head, forces a pretty young woman to marry his off-putting son, the elderly, mustachioed and quite mischievous Bamboo Stick takes her place under the veil. When the ruse is revealed after the ceremony in the bedroom, the despot vows revenge and sets off a chain of kung fu set-pieces and obligatory training montages. The film ends with an epic final battle between Bamboo Stick’s protege, the wickedly talented Cliff Lok, and Iron Head involving kung fu noodles and flatulence.
This film was retitled in the 80s on VHS as OL’ DIRTY AND THE BASTARD and is the origin of Wu Tang Clan Member Ol’ Dirty Bastard. (Tim League)
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