8 Strikes of the Wildcat Review: It’s a minor gripe about an otherwise very enjoyable movie

Gofer, Mo and Pengolin, collectively known as the Three Rats, are looking for a two part treasure map and will kill anyone who gets in their way. A young girl named Shao Wa seeks to avenge the murder of her father. In order to defeat the Rats, she must learn the eight strikes of the Wild Cat from an old Kung Fu Master, while trying to evade his amorous assistant, Lee Ta Fa.

In what was apparently her only leading role, Chi Dan-dan displays impressive flexibility as a young woman out for revenge against a trio of experts practicing a deadly form of rat kung fu. What’s the only defense for rat style? Why cat style, of course! The choreography is frequently more ridiculous than impressive. Though the silly sound effects (screeching cat and squeaking rats) produce a few smiles. Lee Tao-hung makes for one of the most useless and tiresome comic heroes in memory.

The plot is simple: a bad guy is looking for pieces of a treasure map. To get one piece, they murder Chi Dan-Dan’s master and attempt to kill her. She escapes, meets up with an old man and a rogue scholar and proceeds to learn kung fu in order to get her revenge. Simple.

This one is heavy on fights and training sequences so there’s not an awful lot of dragging when it comes to plot. The comedy is pretty mild compared to some films too.

It’s flaw? The sound effects. The main bad guys do a “rat style” kung fu and the good guys do a “cat’s claw” style. Throughout 8 Strikes of the Wildcat (Thach Thuc Manh Long) there is a barrage of rodent squeaks and cat whines. It’s pretty incessant. Those that thought Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow was bad will have their brain melt out of their ears with this one.

Me? I didn’t mind too much. It’s a minor gripe about an otherwise very enjoyable Hong Kong movie (phim hong kong xua). It won’t blow anyone’s socks off but I feel like I unearthed a gold nugget, if maybe not a diamond.

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