Sammo drops the whammo.
Legendary martial arts movie icon Sammo Hung keeps it going, refusing to put his feet up and sojourn off into the sunset towards the Legendary Martial Arts Movie Icon Assisted Living Community.
His latest, The Bodyguards (also known as My Beloved Bodyguard) puts him in an interesting position. Hung plays Ding, a lonely old fat guy who finds himself sucked into a dangerous scenario.
A crippling gambling debt leads Li, a neighbor, into being pressed into services by the local mobsters. Several unfortunate circumstances later, Li is being pursued by gangsters, who try to get at him by taking his daughter Cherry. One problem: Cherry happens to be the one thing that our hero Ding loves in his diminishing life.
So Ding “springs” into action. See, beneath the jowls lies the vestiges of a lethal skill-set, developed when Ding was part of an elite Chinese special ops team. Digging deep, he unleashes his fists and kicks in a one-man rampage to get Cherry back,
And there’s your Sammo Hung movie. Now, to be honest, I was never much of a Sammo Hung guy. I can absolutely appreciate his contributions to the martial arts genre as well as his statue as an Asian Cinema legend. His brand of on-screen fisticuffs just never did much for me.
What I did like was his disposition; even when he was bringing the pain in a big way, he always seemed accessible and charming. If you could use the term “giant teddy bear” to describe a chunky action movie actor, the it would apply to Hung.
This is in full effect with The Bodyguard. Hung has embraced his advanced age, playing a character who is literally (and heart-breakingly) descending into a dimentia. Hung leverages his ingrained charisma with these plot points and crafts a sympathetic guy who happens to be able to chop dudes in their throats.
Look, this isn’t The Raid, but the fight choreography is more-than-adequate, Hung can still bring it and the concept of the little neighbor girl in peril is an excellent motivator.
Solid import, overall.