Slaughter in San Francisco (1974)

slaughterinsanfrancisco

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Released as both Yellow-Faced Tiger and Karate Cop, American martial arts champion turned superstar Chuck Norris plays the villain once again in this very typical modern day kung fu film from director Lo Wei.

Don and John are two police officers in San Francisco. When they see a young woman, Sylvia Chu, apparently being raped, the cops stop the attackers. However, at the police station, Sylvia tells the chief that the two “rapists” are actually good friends and they were having fun. Feeling the embarrassment, Don and John are reprimanded and back to work.

However, Don’s world is about to be turned upside down. When John is kidnapped and attacked by a local gang, Don arrives to save John. However, during the attempt, he accidentally kills one of the street gangsters. Forced to give up his badge, Don spends a year in prison for manslaughter. Working as a waiter in a restaurant, Don grabs the attention of local crime lord Chuck Slaughter. Slaughter is impressed with Don and wants to hire him. At first Don refuses, but Slaughter gives him a week.

Meanwhile, John is ultimately killed when he attempts to stop a bank robber masterminded by Slaughter. To hide his tracks, Sylvia’s parents are accused of the crime and forced in prison. When Don learns of his best friend’s death, he decides to investigate. Throughout his quest, he learns that Sylvia has been dating Slaughter’s young brother Paul and that there is someone on the inside responsible for blaming the Chus. Don and a reformed Sylvia decide to make the wrong things right, forcing an inevitable showdown between Don and Slaughter.

After working with Bruce Lee on the 1972 Hong Kong hit film Way of the Dragon, one would have ever expected Chuck Norris to work on another Hong Kong film. However, he did just that in 1974 with this very standard action film. Norris once again plays the villain, in this case, a mobster who loves to spend money and spends his time perfecting his martial arts skills. Norris himself never got to see this film and chances are should he ever see it, he would most likely laugh at his role.

The film would make wave for a future action legend in Don Wong, who would go on to star in films like The Secret Rivals and Eagle’s Claws. The film’s female lead is another legend in Hong Kong cinema, Sylvia Chang. She would be best known for her role in the Aces Go Places series of action comedies. Here, she seems like someone who doesn’t care about anyone but herself and wanting to be popular of sorts. However, when her parents become accused of murder, she begins to have mixed feelings.

The film has quite an international cast and one wonders why the likes of Norris and the late karate master Daniel Ivan had dubbed voices. Nevertheless, the action is pretty standard fare here. The legendary Han Ying-Chieh choreographed the fight scenes and while Norris looks good, Wong himself gets to show little of his capabilities. He does get to pull off his jumping hook kick in one scene and takes on the likes of Chin Yuet-Sang and Lam Ching-Ying.

In any case, unless you are truly a fan of Chuck Norris, it is best to avoid Slaughter in San Francisco. If you’re heavily into kung fu movies, this one is your basic standard fare and only should be for hardcore kung fu film fans. Plus it does have a catchy theme song.

WFG RATING: C-

A Golden Harvest (HK) Ltd. Production. Director: Lo Wei. Producer: Raymond Chow. Writers: Lo Wei and Chang Yung-Hsiang. Cinematography: Cheung Yiu-Jo. Editing: Peter Cheung.

Cast: Don Wong, Sylvia Chang, Chuck Norris, Wong Sam, Erh Chun, Daniel Ivan, Robert Jones, Bob Talbert, James Economides, Ma Man-Chun, Tu Chia-Cheng, Chin Yuet-Sang, Lam Ching-Ying.

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