Chinatown Capers

Chinatown Capers is the sequel to the classic film Back Alley Princes (reviewed in the Angela Mao section) and though it doesn’t quite capture the wonderful heart of that film, it is still a very fine film. Though it is primarily of a comedic nature, it does take time out for seven fight scenes – more than most action films! As with Back Alley Princes it is directed by Lo Wei (Bruce Lee's The Big Boss ).

The last time we saw Polly Shang Kwan and Sam Hui, they had just helped break up a criminal operation in HK. Now they have arrived in San Francisco to work at a relative’s restaurant. The two of them have a wonderful friendship – totally loyal to one another, but with apparently no sexual interest in each other. In fact both seem to be almost asexual – Polly was taken for a man in Back Alley Princes and is again dressed here in tomboy fashion and Sam seems to have zero interest in women. Hmm, maybe he didn’t come to San Francisco for the work! In reality they are just complete innocents (sexually) and on one occasion they bust down a door because they think a woman is being hurt inside – as it turns out her moans are being derived in another manner entirely!

Their adjustment to life in the States is the main theme of much of the film and it is all done with sweet humor, but they have a PC gang (2 Chinese, 2 Blacks and 2 gweilos) after them and this leads to a few nice fights. Though the fighting would fall fairly low on an intensity scale, it does display the wonderful skills of Polly. And she does on occasion more than meet her match. Once in the restaurant the old fly in the soup routine is used in order not to pay the bill - and this leads to first Sam eating it - and then a huge fight. I am not sure, but one of the unruly patrons looks like a very young Lam Ching-Ying.

Eventually, the two of them try and locate someone for a friend from HK. This turns out to be a very young and very lovely Sylvia Chang. Sylvia is a low level drug dealer, but the two of them convince her to leave the gang and join them. This doesn’t sit too well with the drug gang and this leads needless to say to some more action! It's all fun and games in America.

Twice Sam and Polly raise some cash by performing songs on the street and both songs are very catchy. Sam who was a very popular singer also sings the title song. A humorous highlight was the two of them disguising themselves as blacks – Afro and all – and trying to get the lingo and the Super Fly walk down correctly.
As in Back Alley Princes, this film has a wonderful performance from Polly as she really creates this distinct and charming character. Taking into consideration that she was one of the top female kung-fu stars of that period it really is an amazing acting job. Sam Hui is also very likable, but it was still a few years off before he became a huge star with the Aces Go Places series.