My Name is Shanghai Joe [Il mio nome è Shanghai Joe] (1973)
AKA The Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe, The Dragon Strikes Back, Knochenbrecher im wilden Westen (literally translates to: Bone Crusher in the Wild West), Shanghai Joe, To Kill or to Die
Starring Chen Lee, Klaus Kinski, Gordon Mitchell, Claudio Undari, Katsutoshi Mikuriya, Carla Romanelli, Carla Mancini, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, George Wang, Federico Boido, Piero Lulli
Directed by Mario Caiano
Expectations: High, this one looks great and I’ve heard good things.
On the general scale:
On the B-Movie scale:
Usually in films where two distinct genres are mashed together, the end result is less than it could have been. In My Name is Shanghai Joe, I am happy to say that everything comes together in the best, most satisfying way possible. It is a western first, then a kung fu film, but it truly delivers on both levels. It is also nearly non-stop action, with Shanghai Joe moving briskly through the baddies in one great scene after another. I always go into mixed genre films with apprehension, especially ones that mix two of my favorite genres, but My Name is Shanghai Joe does it so well that I had an absolute blast watching it and will definitely be watching this one again.
There isn’t much of a plot to speak of. Shanghai Joe arrives off a presumably slow boat from China in San Francisco of 1882. He quickly buys a stagecoach ticket East to Texas. At every turn, Joe meets up with some of the most racist fuckers ever put onto celluloid, spouting shitty Chinaman jokes one after another. After working his way through tons of these bastards, Joe finally pisses off the wrong dude, who in turn hires four assassins to track down Joe and take him out. These assassins, with such names as Scalper Jack and Pedro the Cannibal, each go down in interesting and fun ways. My Name is Shanghai Joe is a revenge film, but not one to linger on the pain or the regret such killing might lead another hero to contemplate. Instead most of the scenes follow this general framework: Joe enters, the bad guys say some racist shit and attack, Joe fucking annihilates them. It’s truly gratifying to watch and literally never gets old.