Image (c) Shaw Brothers 1983 / (c) Celestial Pictures 2004
The Lady is the Boss - 1983
By 1983 Shaw's films where going through a change , in a changing market they focused more on Modern day actioners and Horrors.
Not to be outdone by rival studios ( namely Golden Harvest who where killing it around this time) , Director Lau Ka- Leung aka Liu Chia Liang came up with the idea for a Kung Fu comedy set in the Modern age about a ageing Martial arts master stuck in his traditionalist ways who has to get used to a new way of doing things when his own Master who resides in the USA sends his daughter to manage the school in Hong Kong
As Master Wang of the Hong Kong school and his students wait at the airport to greet their arriving master they get a shock when this young sassy Americanised girl greets them claiming to be their Master.
The young girl played by the multi talented Kara Wai Ying Hung aka Kara Hui is a loud happy go lucky soul who for-go's traditional views to get the job done.
This sits at odds with the old Master Wang played by Lau Kar Leung.
Now with all of the Shaw Brothers films to choose why did I choose this as one of this years eight films to review in our Spring of Shaw Season.
For one I have not given much room to Shaw's more modern day fair on site , two – I saw this originally many years ago at a screening in London at a event arranged by Chris Alexis of Shaolin Club.
The film played on a small projector with about a hundred or so fans in a hotel banqueting room in London.
I remembered I enjoyed the films action that I thought it deserved a place in this years Spring of Shaw Season.
The films action is top notch as expected, but after many years and having watched so many films since I can say the films story is very weak .
The basis of the story is sound , young girl takes over Martial arts school , tries to expand it and in doing so upsets the wrong crowd and causes a ruck-ass.
Also starring in the film is Gordon Liu as one of the students and wearing a awful looking wig to boot.
This of course all changes when Meh-Ling ( Kara Hui) decides to give the students a makeover , Gordon may loose the wig giving him the look of San-te but the village people look for the group is wacky even for a 80's Hong Kong film.
In 1982 ET was released and one of the most notable scenes is the bike chase. Here Lau Kar Leung precedes Jackie Chan's Project A ( which features a famous Bike Chase) with a similar themed scene where Meh-Ling takes action against a band of thugs , though the scene is inventive it does get messy in places , plus the appearance of added characters who help her on bikes as well with no explanation of how she knows them or who they are.
But once you get past the fact that the story is pretty not well held together there are some great moments of martial arts on display.
With a running time of about 90 minutes The Lady is the Boss is a real Beer and Pizza film. Your really watching for the final reel where the school and it's students go up against a band of thugs from the local hostess bar.
The final takes place in a gymnasium allowing for some crazy scenes and nice long shots of Gordon Liu and Lau Kar Keung pulling some shapes.
Kara Hui shows she's adept once again at the action and mixes it up with the best of them. It may not be up to some of her best but she's enjoyable to watch none the less.
So in the end Lady is the Boss is a entertaining fight fest with some cringe worthy moments and sadly shows how far behind in terms of modern day action comedy Shaw's where compared to Golden Harvest at the time.
Review Date : 23-03-2020
Review By : Sertes Nake