Hot Dayum! Here’s a rad ass kung fu movie I recently checked out that deserves some serious love yet remains all but forgotten by most here in the USA. If you dig comic books and kung fu I say you gotta take a moment to check out…
Operation Scorpio, aka The Scorpion King (1991)
This unique Hong Kong kung Fu movie from 1991 is barrel of zany fun. It’s jam packed with some truly stunning action and hyper-crazy early 1990’s Kung Fu mayhem!! This one’s got a ton of heart and a cool ass story about a comic book artist, Yu Shu, who’s got a wild ass imagination and spends his time daydreaming of being a real life superhero. It opens with a great sequence that perfectly sets the stage for the frantic charming martial arts extravaganza. His wild imagination gets the best of him when his ‘in class cartooning’ soon gets him expelled from medical school leaving him to help his Uncle’s buddy, Master Yat around his popular noodle restaurant. But Yu soon finds himself fully wrapped up in the evil web of a criminal prostitution ring, when going out on a limb, he helps a woman escape from their stronghold late one evening while walking about town. Now the duo are on the run and take shelter hiding out in Master Yat’s noodle house, they’ll eventually find a lot more than noodle’s in his bustling restaurant.
Shit gets pretty awesome as the movie constantly introduces us to a colorful cast of unique characters and the villain’s seemingly superhuman fighting abilities inspire our main character to take a stab at kung fu himself. He secretly heads off to local martial arts school that’s taught by one of the most bad ass, muscle bound kung fu experts I’ve ever seen in cinema. This dude rivals Bolo Yueng! The movie plays out a bit like a comic book version of “My Bodyguard” & “The Karate Kid” and it’s filled with comedy, romance and downright incredible martial arts sequences. Sonny, (The Scorpion King), the lanky villain of the movie, shows that size clearly doesn’t matter when it comes to superhuman kung fu and proves himself to be quite a cinematic threat to anyone who stands in his way. His “scorpion” style of fighting is a treat to see in action as well and one of the best action scenes is when Yu’s Hulking kung fu teacher decides to try and put an end to his problems himself. This truly epic and a bit of a heartbreaking confrontation is definitely not to be missed..
We’ve got a ton of cool shit going on in this one & one of the most entertainingly cheezy sequences of the movie involves the rigorous kung fu training endured by Yu as he masters martial arts through a full on noodle making work out. We’ve got some great twists and turns in the plot as well and just about everything in this movie is quirky enough to elevate this one to a level of it’s own in the ranks of late 80’s early 90’s martial arts movies. Cool sets, ultra colorful characters, superhuman kung fu, heart and unique little story drive this movie into territory I wasn’t even aware existed in the genre. Operation Scorpio, aka ‘The Scorpion King’ is a total treat for any comic book fan and it’s no wonder the flick was produced by the legendary Sammo Hung. It stands on it’s own and really deserves a lot more attention and notoriety for it’s pure charm and ultra endearing cheez factor it delivers. Seek this one out, as it really is a forgotten gem…
Ok, so my title above is a bit misleading because as of right now there’s not currently rumors about Jonathan Ke Quan returning to the role of “Short Round” for the upcoming Indiana Jones Part 5. BUT let’s start that rumor here because maybe it will catch fire on the web and actually happen!
So this whole idea really began the other evening when I saw the amazing 1991 movie ‘Breathing Fire’ starring Ke Quan as a teenage ass kicking kung fu machine. If you haven’t seen this movie and love his roles in Indiana Jones and Goonies you best check this one out asap. Seriously. Movies rarely reach level of pure fun and some great over the top kung fu! He even faces off against the legendary Bolo Yueng and it’s just jam packed with amazingly awesome & hilarious retro action cheeze. Seek this one out asap. The full movie can be found on Youtube.com!
However I digress, Ke Quan’s acting career ended in 2002 with the Hong Kong sci fi feature film “Second Time Around” so he’s not exactly been focused on acting lately. As you can tell from the previous Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Speilberg is heavily focused on nostalgia from the previous films as one of the key moments is the return of Marion Ravenwood. So in this next installment how amazing would it be to have Indy once again team up with his buddy Short Round on another adventure?
During filming ‘Temple Of Doom’, Quan studied Tae Kwon Do under film choreographer Phillip Tan. Something about the discipline of martial arts really appealed to him, so he began rigorously studying many different techniques. Once his acting career had become more quiet, Quan became an assistant fight choreographer to Hong Kong legend Corey Yeun on movies like ‘X-Men’ and Jet Li vehicle ‘The One’. Ke Quan now is 45 years old, has kept himself in great shape and could likely bring his seasoned martial arts exploits into the next Indy flick with pure adoration from longtime fans. He’s even been asked more recently from fans about appearing in part five answering with an enthusiastic “I don’t know!”. From what I understand he’s also down for a trip down nostalgia lane for the forever talked about Goonies sequel. So this here is all a real possibility considering Indiana Jones part 5 is indeed happening for sure.
I’ve got high hopes for the next Indy movie, I enjoyed the last one but I’ll agree it’s far from perfect and nowhere near as classic as the first three. Still this next movie is likely Harrison Ford’s last as the character so Speilberg will get one last shot to right the wrongs of the last movie. Ditch the ridiculous CG you promised you weren’t going to use and give us something that truly feels like a classic Indy movie and please leave Shia Labeouf’s Mutt Willaims at home. Let’s feel the nostalgia and let’s see Jones & Short Round team up once again, I know that fans would flip their shit if this was worked into the movie and it’d make sense that a fully able, older Short Round could help Indiana Jones kick some butt this time as our aging main character likely needs all the help he can get this time around. What do you think? Would you like to see Johnny Ke Quan return? If so share this post and let’s make it happen!