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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Retro Review: DIRTY HO (1979)

A decade ago, I was an undergraduate at Oklahoma State University. During the weekends,  Aaron Jones — my roommate,  best friend, and president of the Oklahoma chapter of the Jaymee Ong Fan Club — and I would watch all kinds of films during our free time — Hong Kong action flicks, Japanese samurai movies, American cult classics,  you name it. I don’t know how we stumbled upon Dirty Ho, but upon seeing the title for the first time, we knew that one of us was going to have to buy it. That person turned out to be Aaron, and the version he purchased was this grainy, English dubbed copy:

Dirty Ho Dubbed

What surprised us almost as much as the wacky title was that fact that it was a hell of a good time at the movies. While this 1979 Shaw Brothers film does claim the single greatest title in cinema history, Dirty Ho has a lot more going for it than mere novelty status. Directed by Lau Kar-Leung, the film features Wong Yue (not Jimmy Wang Yu — Kozo, please fix my recommendations page!) as the title character, an impetuous young punk who meets up with a slumming, prince-in-disguise played by the Shaolin Master Killer himself, Gordon Liu Chia-Hui. After a series of humorous, well-choreographed fight sequences, the two (in true buddy movie fashion) form an unlikely friendship as they try to overcome a royal assassination plot. Though the fighting is perhaps not as speedy as most might expect raised on a steady diet of Jackie Chan and Jet Li flicks, the action set pieces in Dirty Ho are so intricately choreographed—and oftentimes shot in a single take—that you can’t help but be impressed. And if the title alone isn’t enough to convince you, Dirty Ho even boasts one of the funniest taglines in recent memory: “You haven’t lived until you’ve fought Dirty Ho…and then you’re dead!”

Ho El Sucio

Ho El Sucio indeed. Pic courtesy of

I had a great time watching it dubbed, and years later, when I finally saw the IVL version with the original language track and in gloriously remastered widescreen glory, my fond college memories were more than confirmed.  It’s still a blast. For interested parties, you can check out my original review of Dirty Ho here.



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