This Time I’ll Make You Rich (1974)

This Time I’ll Make You Rich [Questa volta ti faccio ricco!, 財星高照] (1974)

Starring Antonio Sabato, Brad Harris, Karin Schubert, George Wang Chueh, Danny Lee, Gianni Rizzo, Lam Yi-Wa, Ko Hung, Tony Ching Siu-Tung

Directed by Gianfranco Parolini

Expectations: Low. I almost skipped this, but what the hell.


This Time I’ll Make You Rich is one strange movie. I expect no less from Italian comedies of the ’70s (which I’m not fond of), but this one seemed especially odd. A few months ago I reviewed Supermen Against the Orient, and while that one was weird, it also had a fair amount of Shaw charm to hold my interest. This Time I’ll Make You Rich doesn’t really have anything in it that resembles a Shaw film. Shaw actors are present: Danny Lee is around and there are a number of smaller roles/cameos for character actors like Lam Yi-Wa, Wong Ching and Pang Pang. Even Ching Siu-Tung shows up for a bit (making me wonder if he choreographed the uncredited action). But simply casting Shaw actors and using them effectively are two very different things, and in This Time I’ll Make You Rich the Chinese actors are there more to mine Chinese stereotypes for jokes than to do anything else.

The film opens with Italian-American Joe Esposito (Antonio Sabato) flying a plane dropping money stamped with the word “Spaghetti.” He then skydives to the ground, and upon landing he gets into a van that says “Cheng Cheng Spaghetti” on the side. This is all an advertising scheme for his fledgling Hong Kong spaghetti business, and you might be inclined to think that said fledgling spaghetti business would figure into the story, but you’d be dead wrong. In fact, we never hear of it again, and the skydiving stunt is merely there to introduce us to the extravagant methods that Joe will go to in order to make money (and potentially get rich).

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To Kill With Intrigue (1977)

10_gkaals1004To Kill With Intrigue [劍花煙雨江南] (1977)

Starring Jackie Chan, Hsu Feng, Sin Il-Ryong, Yu Ling-Lung, George Wang Jue, Tung Lam, Ma Kei, Kong Ching-Ha, Chan Wai-Lau, Lee Man-Tai, Chan San-Yat

Directed by Lo Wei

Expectations: Moderate.

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Coming off of one of the best early Jackie Chan films, here’s one of the worst! To Kill With Intrigue is one of the most convoluted and hard-to-follow wuxia films I’ve ever seen, saved only marginally by its grouping of fun, well-choreographed fights. The “intrigue” in the film’s title refers to the many needless and overly complicated plot points, but, y’know… To Kill with Needless and Overly Complicated Plot Points just doesn’t have that same je ne sais quoi.

And how will I sum up the gist of To Kill With Intrigue‘s plot into one paragraph? It’s just not possible, but the basics are: Jackie’s parents are murdered by the Killer Bees clan (is this where Wu-Tang got the name?), but just as Jackie is about to kill the one responsible, she outs Jackie’s father as the murderer of her parents! They spare each other, and thus begins a weird love/hate relationship that exists to further the plot where it shouldn’t be able to go, and also to overly complicate things (of course). Anyway, the real story is Jackie searching the countryside for his pregnant girlfriend who he sent to safety with his friend right before the Killer Bees attacked.

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My Name is Shanghai Joe (1973)

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.

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