Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog
Year of release: 1978
Genre: martial arts/comedy
Director: Karl Maka
Action directors: Sammo Hung, Lau Kar-Wing
Producers: Lau Kar-Wing, Karl Maka, Sammo Hung
Writer: Jeff Lau
Cinematography: Hoh Ming
Music: Frankie Chan
Editor: Tony Chow
Stars: Sammo Hung, Lau Kar-Wing, Meg Lam, Jason Pai Piao, Lee Hoi-Sang, Karl Maka, Dean Shek, To Siu-Ming, Lam Ching-Ying, Chung Faat, Yuen Biao, Fung Hak-On, Mars, Chan Lap-Ban
Not rated; contains IIA-level mild violence and language
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Sammo Hung and Lau Kar-Wing team up as not only the stars of 1978's Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog, but share the action directing duties as well. While this pairing does produce some exciting results in the martial arts department, the copious amounts of dopey and inane comedy thrown at the viewer via the heavy-handed direction of Karl Maka keeps this movie from becoming something truly special instead of just another slightly above-average yet generic and forgettable Hong Kong kung fu comedy from the late 1970's.
Lau Kar-Wing plays Dirty Tiger, who is hired by an old lady (Chan Lap-Ban) to find her husband, Crazy Frog (Sammo Hung). It turns out that granny doesn't want her hubby back because she loves him -- it's because he has stolen her family's prized "invincible armor". Once Dirty Tiger finds out about this, he begins hatching a plan to keep the armor for himself. But it won't be as easy as simply duping Crazy Frog, since there's a motley group of characters (including Dean Shek, Karl Maka, and Lee Hoi-Sang) who also want the armor.
With the cast and crew involved (which also features Lam Ching-Ying, Yuen Biao, and Mars) you would think that there would be great fights on display here, and you'd be right, at least to an extent. While the fighting is universally solid, there's nothing that really sticks out, especially when compared with some of the top-tier kung fu pictures from the late 1970's like 1979's Sammo Hung-directed classic Knockabout. While you're not going to be bored at all by the fight scenes, there's nothing contained here that you're likely to rave to your friends about, either.
I will grant that, for the most part, I am not a fan of the comedic style employed in most Hong Kong films, especially that used by Karl Maka and Dean Shek, who seem to inspire headaches rather than laughs through their incessant mugging and use of elements like fast-motion and sound effects that would be more appropriate for a Road Runner cartoon than a live-action movie. Thus, sitting through the comedic exposition scenes was kind of a chore for this reviewer, with the only few laughs generated from Sammo's versatile facial expressions. So once Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog got to the fighting, as good as those scenes were, they just couldn't fully overcome the hole of mediocrity the movie had already dug for itself.