Odd Couple (film)

Odd Couple (film)

Odd Couple is a 1979 Hong Kong action film directed by Lau Kar Wing (Liu Chia Yung), who also stars, alongside Sammo Hung. It was the first film to be released by Gar Bo Motion Picture Company (aka Gar-Bo Film Company), an independent production company set up by Hung, Lau and producer Karl Maka. The movie is a showcase for the different techniques used to wield some of the Chinese mêlée weapons, particularly the Dao broadsword (or sabre) and the Qiang spear.

The films is sometimes listed as The Odd Couple.

Synopsis

Two aging kung fu masters, played by Sammo Hung and Lau Kar Wing get together once a year for a timed duel. Hung's character is a master of the short sword (King of Sabres), and Lau is the master of the spear (King of Spears). Every year the fight ends in a draw, and as the masters are getting old, they decide the best course of action is to take on a student each to determine who is the better teacher. They agree to meet up again 10 years later, with their students and let the next generation carry on the duel. In a casting twist, Hung's student is played by Lau Kar Wing and Lau's student is played by Hung. This gives rise to some difficult directorial work later in the film when all 'four' of them are together. Both students become proficient in their weapons, allowing the actors, in their opposing roles, to demonstrate their skills with both weapons.

The story takes a turn when a previously upright martial artist known as Old Yellow Dog, (Leung Kar Yan) kidnaps the students before their duel can begin. It transpires (in flashback) that the kung fu master was defeated in separate battles with the King of Sabres and the King of Spears, and was forced to 'retire' from fighting. Now, after years of training in a new weapon (a long bladed staff) and with a new name, Laughing Bandit, he wants to lure the old masters out to exact his revenge. The old masters arrive, first taking on the Laughing Bandit's four disciples and defeating them. However, this was a ploy to tire them out, and individually they are unable to defeat Laughing Bandit and his new techniques. The evil master suggests the old men both attack at once, but because of their pride and belief in their own superiority, they refuse. The students are released, while each master is fighting, and are instructed to escape. After some protestation they do, and the old masters are killed.

Fuelled by revenge, the students agree to join forces to defeat the evil master. Hung's character (the new King of Spears) comes up with a plan us to utilise magnets that can pull the Laughing Bandit's weapon from him. After luring him out into the open, they fight him unarmed, choosing to mimic their weapon styles with empty hands, but with the magnet they are able to disrupt his attacks, and after a gruelling fight they triumph.

After burying their masters, they decide to honour their memory by fulfilling their request to duel. However, as with their masters before them, the fight ends in a draw. Instead, they decide to resolve who is the greatest by playing a game, rather than fighting. Each must try to place his weapon into their masters burial mound, whilst simultaneously stopping their opponent from doing so. After another long competition, the film ends with the pair laughing at the absurdity of the rivalry and realising that as friends they will never be able to determine who is the best.

External links

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