Bad Movie, Verboten Subject?

I’m embarrassed to be in the middle of Fantasy Mission Force, a kung fu movie that demonstrates a brand of Asian humor that I haven’t yet learned to appreciate. I’m watching it because I’m a sucker for Jackie Chan flicks and Netflix makes it too easy to queue up bad movies. David Chute wrote the Amazon editorial review:

Jackie Chan makes a brief guest appearance in this surreally goofy action comedy, a high-spirited shambles from 1982 that hovers awkwardly somewhere between Monty Python and The Three Stooges. When all else fails, cult director Chu Yen-ping (Island of Fire) resorts to exploding cigars, guys making funny faces, men dressed in women’s clothing, even a ghost or two. The nominal star, ’70s kung fu veteran Wang Yu (The One-Armed Swordsman), is an Allied agent assembling a troupe of commandos for a mission behind enemy lines during World War II. (Although the landscape is obviously Asian, there are Hogan’s Heroes-style Nazis scampering through the jungle.) Every member of this movie’s mismatched clown-squad seems to hail from a different planet, including one inexplicable fellow who looks like an Elvis impersonator in a kilt. Most of the exhilarating action is handled by the glorious Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia, from Peking Opera Blues and The Bride with White Hair, who kicks heads and looks smashing in a red-and-black-leather jumpsuit.

As bad as it is, though, I’m intrigued by something I’ve not seen in other kung fu movies: evidence of the deep hostility between China and Japan. Here’s the synopsis from Netflix:

When Japanese soldiers kidnap a group of generals, the Chinese offer a reward to the roguish Don Wen (Jimmy Wang Yu) if he can return the captives alive. Now, Wen and his motley band of miscreants — including a con man, an escape artist, a thief and an ex-wrestler — must fight their way behind enemy lines to make a profit. This Dirty Dozen-style comedy co-stars Jackie Chan and Brigitte Lin.

Movies in the US have exploited most every possible national dispute, but why haven’t I seen any mention of China’s conflict with Japan in a kunf fu movie before? Even here, most of the action is directed inward at trials among their own people.

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