The Snake Strikes Back Review: There are lots of fights but much of the action is played for laughs

Lam cannot do right where his master or his main rival, Sui, are concerned. When the Master is killed, Lam must fight Sui and the Immortal Trio to protect the Book of Invincible Snake Fist.

The Snake Strikes Back (Xa Quyen Sat Thu) opens with student Lam being repeatedly punished for failing his master and being bullied by fellow student Sui. When the master dies Sui is determined to get his hands on a secret book; a book that teaches the ‘Invincible Snake Fist’ skill. He isn’t the only one after the book; there are also three vicious characters from the south known as the ‘Immortal Trio’. Now Lam must repeatedly fight against Sui and the trio to stop them getting the book. He is helped in this by being trained by the ‘Potbellied Beggar’ a skilled practitioner of Kung-fu.

If you are looking for a serious martial arts film (phim vo thuat xua) this isn’t it… There are lots of fights but much of the action is played for laughs. These fight scenes are highly choreographed and are exciting at times even if things aren’t taken that seriously… It is impossible to take things seriously when a character’s main weapon is his belly! Things weren’t helped by the English dub in the version I saw… many characters spoke like cowpokes in a cheesy western; perhaps those responsible thought that would add to the comedy!

The editing wasn’t great; often scenes felt cut short to such an extent that I wondered if I was watching an edited version… the length of the film suggested this theory was wrong. For all its faults the film grew on me as I watched and as the end approached I was really enjoying it. Overall I’d recommend this to fans of low budget martial arts; partly for the action and partially for the laughs.

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