SCORPIO aka SCORPION KING (1991-HK)
review by Jerome
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The Cantonese title is “Kit Jee Jin See” which means the scorpion warrior, a reference to the character played by Kim Won Jin.
Set in Hong Kong 1920, this gripping tale details the adventures of Fai Yuk Shu (Chin Gar Lok), and idealistic young hero, who live vicariously through the legendary martial arts heroes which he illustrates on the back of his class books. When he rescues a beautiful young girl, Siu Yu (May Law) from a prostitution racket headed by a local police chief, he is drawn into a dangerous web of deceit, protected by the formidable fighting skills of Sonny (Kim Won Jin), a skilled martial artist who’s fighting style mimics the movements of a scorpion.
With his heroic illustrations as inspiration a bodybuilding trainer (Frankie Chan) and real Kung fu master, Master Yat (Lau Gar Leung) to guide him, Fai Yuk Shu must draw on his courage, strength and skill to overcome the incredible kicking power of Sonny, the “Scorpion King”.
Chin Gar Lok’s character, Fai Yuk Shu is the average guy who dreams of being a hero. The only problem is he is always getting into mischief, especially when he rescues Siu Yu (May Law) from Inspector Wa (Yuen Shun Yee) and his partner in crime Mr Wong (Victor Hon). As a result he is expelled from his school and gets a job working in Master Yat’s (Lau Gar Leung) restaurant. Although he works there to keep his father Fai Wing (Wu Fung) happy, he secretly goes out to train in bodybuilding and boxing with Sean Paul (Frankie Chan). On one occasion when out the restaurant’s sign is smashed due to the poor cooking skills of Fai Wing and Siu Yu while Master Yat is out of town. Fai Yuk Shu ends up learning ‘beef noodle’ kung fu and the shadowless kick from Master Yat. He uses it to great effect when confronting Sonny and Mr Wong’s goons in an attempt to rescue Siu Yu and Fatty Hing’s (Lau Sek Yin) former maid, Siu Laan.
Lau Gar Leung is no stranger in playing role of the kung fu master. His character is revealed to be an ex-assassin who was tired of living in the ‘underworld’ and thus setup his noodle restaurant. Faced with the prospect of no business due to Mr Wong’s thugs burning the restaurant down and kidnapping Siu Yu, he saves Yuk Shu’s dad from the fire and teams up with Yuk Shu to confront Mr Wong and his goons.
May Lo’s character Siu Yu, is a maid working under Inspector Wa and then given to Mr Wong. Siu Yu was sold as a child in order for her mother to pay for her deceased father’s funeral. Despite taking a liking to Yuk Shu, she still likes to work as servant despite the fact he freed her from it.
Kim Won Jin’s character Sonny is depicted as the loving son who would just about do anything to protect his paralysed father, Mr Wong. When he is attacked or double crossed, Sonny uses his extremely powerful scorpion imitated fighting style to deal with Wong’s enemies.
The imaginative fighting style of the scorpion coupled with wirework and traditional kung fu will blow your socks off. You can see Lau Gar Leung use the three-sectioned staff against Yuen Dak, Chin Gar Lok and Lau Gar Leung fighting Kim Won Jin, Kim Won Jin fighting Frankie Chan.
Although the film didn’t do very well at the Hong Kong box office, Operation Scorpio is a 90’s classic for fans of Lau Gar Leung’s earlier films at Shaw Brothers and fans of the mixed fantasy, action and kung fu genre. It’s such a pity that in modern times few martial arts / action films are made in Hong Kong.
I rate it 7.5/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Director: David LAI Daai Wai.
Action Consultant: LAU Gar Leung.
Action Choreography: YUEN Dak, Corey YUEN Gwai.
Cast: Kim Won Jin (credited as Yuen Chun), LAU Gar Leung, May LAW Mei Mei, CHIN Gar Lok, WU Fung, Victor HON Kwan, David LO, Frankie CHAN Chi Leung, YUEN Shun Yee, LAU Yuk Ting, LAU Sek Yin.
Genre: Modern Action / Kung Fu