My Son A-Chang
Director: Fung Fung
Cast: Bruce Lee, Fung Fung, Lee Hoi-chuen, Yi Chau-shui
Just like many of you, I was initially attracted to My Son A-chang once I heard that the 10 year-old Bruce Lee is the lead male. At the age of 10, Lee's vigorous performance in this film had already proved to the audience that he was a natural born performer.
Shot and released in 1950, this movie was adapted from a domestic comic starring A-chang (Bruce Lee) as the protagonist. In the beginning, A-chang lives with his uncle (Yi Chau-shui)'s family. One day, he comes across a gangster called "Flying dagger Lee" (Fung Fung) and is fascinated by Lee's dagger throwing ability. A-chang soon becomes Lee's apprentice and later joins his gang group... Similar to quite some of the Cantonese movies at that time, the tehnical performance is rather crude in today's standard, and a seemingly oversimplified moral message is also incorporated into the story, that is, the bad guy finally gets his punishment while the good guys prevails at last. Due to the fact that it is a comic adaptation, the traits of the characters are easily distingishable. You can tell without doubt who the good or bad guy is.
At first glance, A-chang, the title character, is without doubt the focus of this movie, as almost every character is either directly or indirectly related to him, and the plot is also generally centered upon his character. However, from a dramatic perspective, "Flying dagger Lee" is in fact the role that is most captivating and interesting. Unlike the typically simple-minded A-chang, Lee is a much more complicated character as he is not the usual gangster you would find in the films at that time. Perhaps it would be bombastic to call him a modern "Robin Hood", it is undeniable that his character does possess a kind of heroic quality that is respectable. His behaviors are based strictly on a set of moral standard. For instance, he only picks miser to rob, he does not allow his men to rape the female captive, he always acts upon his promise, and he always takes the responsibility of his deeds. The depiction of this character is very similar to the glorified and heroic gangsters roles in nowadays Hong Kong movies like Young and Dangerous. At the end of the movie, the surrender of Lee not only influences A-chang, but also brings out the moral theme of the story. Therefore, to a certain extent, it is he, but not A-chang, who is the pivotal character that makes a difference. Coincidentally, this character is not played by anyone else but the director Fung Fung, which implicitly signifies the importance of the character.
As a child actor, Bruce Lee really knew his stuff well. His delivery of dialogues was articulate and his command of facial expressions was vivid enough to capture the viewers' attention. Considering its light-hearted attitude, the ending, with A-chang and his uncle retreating from the city and the lack of lesson for the millionnaire, is actually not a very happy and complete resolve as any viewers would expect. Nevertheless, with a large portion of the movie dedicating to the comical portrayals of the characters as well as the humorous scenes, My Son A-chang is still an enjoyable and funny movie that succeeds in keeping its audience happy and satisfied for a good 90 minutes.
Cool guy(s) - Bruce Lee, Yi Chau-shui
Reviewed by: Kantorates