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身不由己 (1980)
The Victim

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 01/05/2010

Perhaps due to the time it came out, which was towards the end of the line for the traditional kung fu movie, Sammo Hung's 1980 entry The Victim seems to be one of the lesser-known entries in his filmography. That's unfortunate, because even though the plot and acting aren't going to win any awards, the martial arts action featured here is top-notch.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 06/21/2009
Summary: One of Sammo's best...

Sammo Hung's "The Victim" falls into the era of Sammo's best work, but is rarely mentioned as among his top films. Anyone overlooking The Victim is missing a real gem. Although there are a few bits of comedy, the story is generally very dark and ominous, with some really nasty characters and shocking twists. Obviously the real draw here is the amazing duo of Leung Kar-yan and Sammo appearing together. Their kung fu is crisp and the choreography by the star-studded foursome of Hung, Yuen Biao, Lam Ching-Ying and Billy Chan is top notch. Although not quite as smooth and inventive as a Yuen clan production, it is still incredible. Sammo has an excellent initial duel with a 3-section staff vs under-appreciated Yuen Miu using a Kwan Do. Later, Hung's fights with Leung are very well done and smooth. There is even a part that is reminiscent of 8 Diagram Pole Fighter where Leung fights with his wife (Fanny Wang) riding piggy back. As with 8 Diagram, a very impressive short sequence of leg stamina. Wilson Tong also makes a memorable but albeit short appearance near the end and a single fight against Leung. I would have liked to see him have a fleshed out role in the film, even if its just to get him involved in some more action. The final fight is incredibly hard-hitting but slightly undercranked. The small issue does nothing to detract from the overall quality of the film, which easily ranks in the upper echelon of Sammo Hung productions.


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 08/28/2007
Summary: a classic...

chan wing (sammo hung)is an amiable chancer who decides to take the first fighter who beats him as his master. after going through several opponents with ease, he stumbles across chung yau (leung kar-yan): chung easily beats chan, but has no interest in taking on a student. chan doesn't give up easily, though, and tries his best to persuade chung, although he soon finds himself involved with those who want chung dead...

'the victim' sits nicely between 'knockabout' and 'the prodigal son'; the former being one of my favourite films and the latter being hailed as one of sammo's finest achievements. needless to say, it is of the high standard that one would expect. the narrative, despite being subordinate to the seemingly endless strings of fight sequences, is surprisingly well rounded and there is a real depth to the characters, as well as a great contrast between the bumbling of sammo and the intensity of leung.

the fighting, itself, is of a great standard, showcasing the inventive, gymnastic abilities of sammo and his ability to make everyone he encounters look great.

absolutely smashing stuff.

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 01/08/2006
Summary: Sammo Hung at his best

“The Victim” doesn’t have much of a plot. Lau Tin-Chi, the credited screenwriter, had a pretty easy time of it since he just had to supply enough dialog, character development and plot twists to lead from one outstanding action scene to the next. There are elements of self-sacrifice and gallantry on one side paired with dirty dealing and skullduggery on the other but they are hardly the reason to see this movie which all fans of action films should.

Twenty-five years ago Sammo Hung was already a genius. The fight choreography here is sublime and while Sammo’s contributions as a fighter are exceptional, it is as the stager of the fights that he really astonishes—he does everything at top speed and just about perfectly.

We watched the U.S. Martial Arts Theater disc which was as bad as Mr. Booth warned—the fights were fierce and brutal but must have been more so on a decent print that hadn’t been cropped, scanned and panned, dubbed and saddled with cheesy sound effects. But watching this poor quality reproduction brought back memories of Saturdays spent watching Kung Fu Theater—all this print was missing were a few commercials for local car dealers to complete the illusion. We would then run out into the street to show each other our latest moves, often flying kicks that missed and landed the kicker on the ground. While it is possible to enjoy an atrociously handled print to some extent—the quality of “The Victim” is invincible--it is like listening to a poor quality tape of a favorite singer. You love what is there but you know you are missing a lot as well.

One thing that is obvious from watching any print of “The Victim” is how tough and daring Hong Kong stuntmen were—and, one assumes, still are. They hit the ground hard and often. Rewinding and playing back at different speeds made things look even worse. Stuntmen are fit and skilled; they have rehearsed being flipped through the air and falling on their backs and they are capable of doing it as many times as the director needs to get the shot he wants. But even though they “know how to fall”—that is know how to get their hands down first, for example—it is still a very rough way to make a living and was probably a lot worse twenty-five years ago.

This is a terrific movie, filled with the kind of action that made Hong Kong cinema popular throughout the world in decades past. If you haven’t seen it, rent it now.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 12/18/2003
Summary: Not a complete waste of time

Believe the hype about the choreography - it's really quite exquisite in the BEST style of old school kung fu. On the other hand, you have acting so stiff, comedy so cheesy (although some gags are truly funny), plot so over-cliched (ok, to be fair, it's not without some interesting twists), that it's hard to consider "The Victim" a good movie. Not the best combo of kung fu and story, but still contains countless oh-so-sweet fight scenes.


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: RiceBowl
Date: 08/12/2003
Summary: One of Sammo's top ten

Leung Ka Yan plays Chung Yau which is a run away martial artist that lives with his wife. Chung Yau is running away from Jo Wing who tryed to rape his wife. Jo Wing kung fu is too deadly to confront. Along the way he meets Chan Wing (played by Sammo Hung). Chan Wing kept on bothering Chung Yau to teach him his martial art style which was better then his, considering the fact that Chan Wing's fighting style is good enough to take on Chung Yau's relatives. The whole plot changes when Chung Yau's foster father and also master died. Jo Wing was also in the room when Chung Yau heard his foster father say his last words. Jo Wing's apperance struck a battle between Chung Yau and Jo Wing's gang. after the fight Yuet Yee (played by Fan Lei)who is Chung Yau's wife decides to leave him after being a coward with Jo Wing. She later kills her self in front of Jo Wing's men...... thats all I can tell you, but if you want to learn and see more buy or rent the DVD or VHS. The thing I like about Lau Ka Yan is that he has no martial art backround or Peking Opera training and still does the fighting movements correctly with natural ability and patience.Sammo Hung plays Chan Wing, who wants to learn from Chung Yau. The Victim is said to be Sammo's first directed job. I think Sammo did a great Job with the direction, the fight choreography, and acting. Sammo intended Jakie Chan to play the part of Chan Wing but I think Sammo fit the job perfectly. Sammo wanted this film to be unique. I like this fim because the fights were actually faster then the old school Jackie Chan ones and this film was obviously old school. In this film we also got to hear Sammo speak English

School Grade 87% must see Sammo movie.

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 03/22/2002
Summary: Mindblowing

Quite possibly the finest kung fu movie ever made, The Victim shows Sammo Hung at the peak of his skills as a martial artist, choreographer and director. He puts virtually everybody else working in Hong Kong at the time to shame.

For a movie that is almost 90% fight scenes, the characters are surprisingly well developed and the plot both involved and interesting. The old school standards of revenge and the reluctant master/immature student are the framework, but built upon it is a structure of surprising depth and richness.

The characters do have a tendency to express themselves by fighting, it must be said. From start to finish there's barely 3 consecutive minutes where a fight isn't going on. The choreography and filming throughout is nothing short of mindblowing. The speed, intricacy, detail and invention is kept at an incredible high throughout. Just draw-dropping to watch!

Absolutely recommended, but if you're going to pick it up on DVD be sure to get the UK disc (widescreen/subtitled) and NOT the US Martial Arts Theatre disc! I was fortunate enough to see it on the big screen tonight, and have to say that's where it truly belongs!

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 03/01/2002
Summary: When Old is New Again

When you get tired of watching the seemingly endless number of Hollywood influenced dross coming out of Hong Kong, or are just nauseated from the bad flicks, return to the golden age of martial arts films like "The Victim." Starring and directed by Sammo Hung, you can't go wrong. Sammo plays a bully in search of a master. Featuring Leung Kar Yan as the reluctant master, "The Victim" contains high octane kung fu, with a plot that offers a surprise or two as well.

The film breezes along at a nice pace with Sammo in top form, both as a martial artist and as a comedian. For a film that's over 20 years old, it is still as inventive and entertaining as ever. Sammo may be embarrassed by current movies like "The Avenging Fist," but he is vibrant and fresh in "The Victim." Granted, some of the directing techniques of that bygone era show their years, but the work by the Sammo Hung Action Group is top notch and peerless. So when your taste for CGI is sated and you really want to see how Hong Kong made its name in martial arts films, see "The Victim" for a dose of that old time kung fu.

(This film is available in videocassette, vcd and dvd, and also a dubbed version for English speakers. Seek it out. You'll be glad you did.)

Reviewed by: foleyisgravy
Date: 01/15/2002
Summary: The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be!

This movie should be in every person's top 3 best martial arts films. Great acting, cool revenge plotline, and just about the best fighting ever put on film. It's hard to believe that Leung Kar Yan has never had any formal martial arts training after seeing this film. He's never looked better than in this movie under Sammo Hung's skillful direction. Sammo was at the peak of his fighting abilities in this movie and moves incredibly fast and crisp.

Sammo stars as a young man desperately searching for a kung-fu teacher. He thinks he's found the perfect candidate in Leung Kar Yan, but Kar Yan wants nothing to do with Sammo and refuses. Sammo continues to follow Kar Yan and finds out some details about his personal life. At a young age, Kar Yan was taken in by an old man and his jealous son. Later on, the jealous son, played menacingly by Chang Yi, feels that Kar Yan owes him something and attempts to rape his wife after their wedding. Now Kar Yan and his wife are being chased by Yi's servants who are attempting to steal Kar Yan's wife from him and deliver her to Yi. Sammo vows to serve Kar Yan and help him defeat Yi and his servants as long as he will teach him.

There are several plot twists that leave you guessing up until the climactic battle, where Leung Kar Yan faces off against Chang Yi and his many thugs, including Wilson Tong. This fight is probably the best fight ever put on film as it is unrivaled in intensity. The choreography by Sammo is amazingly complex, particularly during some of the handwork performed between Kar Yan and Yi. This battle just tops off an awesome movie that I urge you to seek out if you love martial arts films.

Reviewed by: resisttoexist
Date: 01/10/2002
Summary: You'll be a victim... of a sweet kung fu movie

Martial Arts Theatre movies are sometimes a mixed bag, but The Victim was awesome!!!! This was the first Sammo movie I watched and I loved it. Great great great movie.

Reviewed by: hellboy
Date: 08/30/2000

One of the best Sammo movies ever! The acting is great and so is the twist ending! The strangest scene of the movie involves Sammo dressing up in a European vampire costume and wearing fake fangs. 8/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/09/2000

The plot is pretty simple. Sammo has decided that the first person to beat him will be his master. Unfortunately, the first person to beat him has his own problems and isn't exactly willing. So Sammo just follows him around calling him Master through most of the film.

This is a pretty good old style kung fu film with lots of Sammo. Good points include Sammo, Sammo, and more Sammo. He is hilarious. Bad points include: There's ... something ... really ... strange ... about ... those ... old ... style ... kung-fu ... scenes ... where ... they ... pause ... and ... pose ... between .... every ... move. And don't get me started on the sound effects (who knew that blocking a punch made a sound like a two blocks of wood slapping together?).

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

Classic Sammo kung fu flick with one of the greatest final duelsI've ever seen. A by-now-familiar plot line about a reluctant master and his relentlessly pesky would-be student is mixed up with a revenge narrative and some clever surprises. The mixture of humor, drama and great fight scenes is near perfect. Much to my surprise I'm turning into one of those guys who is "nostalgic for the good old days of the Golden Age of kung fu movies" - and it's all because of films like this one....