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Director: Yuen Woo-Ping

Stars: Yuen Biao, Kwan Tak-Hing, Yuen Shun-Yi, Phillip Ko, Leung Kar Yan, Lily Li

This is a pretty cool take on the Wong Fei-Hung character (played here by Kwan Tak-Hing, who made Wong famous by portraying him in almost 100 films). Yuen Biao (in one of his meatier roles) plays a somewhat cowardly guy named Mousy who wants to learn kung fu from Wong. In the background, there are a couple of other plots revolving around -- what else? -- a lion dance, with the competing teams wanting to snuff out Wong so they can actually win for a change. But really the story is an excuse to get to the action. Though to its' credit, the story does weave in some nice symbolism about conflicts between Mainland and Hong Kong values. But I'm guessing most people (like myself) are more interested in the action, and Dreadnaught delivers in spades. Every action sequence is good enough to be puton some kind of best-of compliation, and some of them have been directly copied in more recent movies (Wong Jing's The New Legend of Shaolin revisits the fabulous scene where Fei-Hung fights off a tailor who's really an assassin).

Dreadnaught was one of the last old-school movies -- wire-fu and more modern settings were coming into vogue -- but what a way to go out. This is among both Yuen Biao and Yuen Woo-Ping's best work and comes highly recommended.


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