Everything Everywhere: Ke Huy Quan’s 1991 Forgotten Ass-kicker!
So we all just saw how ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ cleaned up at the Oscars last night and all were basically brought to tears with Huy Ke Quan’s acceptance speech for BEST supporting actor. I predicted this all after walking out of the theater, it’s one of the most unique movies I’ve seen in a long time and it’s so nice something that awesome and original actually win. Well to all you new Ke Huy Quan fans you’re probably wondering where to go next?! Well most people only know him from this latest endeavor and of course The Goonies and Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom. Well get ready to go deep down the Ke Quan rabbit hole, there’s another awesome movie of his that’s almost entirely forgotten, way back from 1991: BREATHING FIRE!!!
As you all saw in “Everything Everywhere” Huy is quite the martial artist and if you really wanna see just how long he’s been kicking ass ‘Breathing Fire’ will give you a serious dose of his wild physical talent. Take note though, it’s not an Oscar worthy flick-but it’s so much damn fun to watch unfold. It’s got a pretty wild plot too: Mike, A Vietnam vet martial arts master with two teenage sons, one being Ke Quan, decides to take part in bank heist with a ruff n’ tumble gang of criminals and the bank manager himself. To make sure no one double crosses, Mike makes a special very special set of keys, ensuring that the secret safe for the riches can only be opened if every member of the gang are all there in person.
Unfortunately the bank manager, suddenly has second thoughts and tries to back out of the deal. Mike along with his gnarly gang decides to put a hit out on him. His daughter who’s on to his criminal behavior, luckily, gets hold of the key, runs for help to one of her father’s old friends, Vietnam vet and a former war pal of Mike. That’s not enough though to take on this crew of wicked gangsters lead by none other than Bolo Yeung! They also need to employ the martial arts skills of the Ke Huy Quan and his step brother, both who happen to be teenage kickboxing masters!!
Breathing Fire is such a damn good time, it’s a cult classic in waiting, especially now since Ke Huy Quan is on top of the world. I expect this one to likely get a shiny new blu ray release some time in the near future-it certainly deserves one. It’s hits all the right beats of the late 80’s/early90s coming of age action comedy. It’s plot is unique enough too, with the villain actually being the kids father, which serves up a nice dramatic twist.
Also seeing the mighty Bolo Yeung as one of the main villains is the icing on the cake as well as seeing Quan going one on one with him is really history in the making now. It’s jam packed with charming but equally ridiculous dialogue, over the top gun play and some really impressive choreography equivalent to stuff that Hong Kong studios were putting out at the time.
It’s a step above, despite being a lower budget endeavor, a lot of the American action films of the time, at least with the onscreen battles that unfold. There’s some truly bizarre plot twists as well as some surprising characters that enter the fold will likely leave you with a grin. With a lean run time of 85 minutes too this one wastes no time getting to the fun. Quan also shines again with his usual charisma and it’s really cool to see him at this age showcasing his chops-both physically and acting wise. I highly recommend getting onboard with Breathing Fire and spreading the word, I’m really surprised how under the radar this movie has remained. However, I’ve got a feeling it’s going to get cult classic status soon, with Ke Huy Quan back on top!!