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The Dynamite Trio
(aka Long Step Mantis, Mantis Kung Fu Master in the Dynamite Trio, The Mantis Kung-Fu Masters in the Dynamite Trio, The Mantis Kung-Fu Master in Long Step Mantis)
1982; directed by Danny Cheng

Hong Kong Film Net continues our slog through the depths of the home office's Netflix queue, which at this point consists mainly of low-budget movies that barely made a peep upon their release and would never be watched (much less written about) by anyone in their sane mind. Well, friends, that's where your bored and addled reviewer comes in, as once again, a DVD from VideoAsia of a IFD Films production graced my battered Playstation 3. Sadly, this time, it's not some fun cut-and-paste ninja-flavored antics -- it's just yet another dull late period oldschool kung fu movie cranked out to make a quick buck off of unsuspecting viewers.

The Dynamite Trio  The Dynamite Trio

The story revolves around a couple of buffoons who work in a pharmacy, but dream of learning kung fu. One day, they treat a wounded man who pays them with a manual for the deadly mantis style. Trouble is that there's a couple of nasty villains who are also looking for the manual. Yes, this isn't exactly compelling stuff, and it's not made any better by the poor-quality English dubbing on the DVD, which features a very annoying music score that consists of the same tinkly tune repeating over and over. Didn't these people at least have the decency to rip off Star Wars or Dark Side of the Moon like any other number of kung fu cheapies?

The Dynamite Trio  The Dynamite Trio

As with most of VideoAsia's DVDs, the picture is tough to look at, being chopped and center framed with lots of scratches. Even if this film was presented on a pristine remastered Blu-ray, it really would not have affected the overall quality of the release. The oldschool kung fu genre was pretty much running on fumes at this point, with most of the productions from this period being shunned by local audiences, who had long grown tired of basically the same film being recycled over and over. Yes, there were a few gems coming out here and there, mostly from masters of the craft, such as Lau Kar-Leung with Legendary Weapons of China, which was also put out in 1982, but has aged much better than this clunker.

The Dynamite Trio  The Dynamite Trio

In the hands of first (and only) time writer/director Danny Cheng and employing lesser-known stars such as Mark Lung and Lung Fei, this is a production that fails to get to even the realm of being averagely entertaining. Featuring leaden exposition, banal and annoying comedy, and workman-like fight scenes, The Dynamite Trio is a film that goes through the motions and gets nowhere in the process.


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