Director: Jeng Cheong-Woh
Action directors: Sammo Hung, Whang In-Shik
Stars: Tanny Tien Ni, Byong Yu, Angela Mao, Zhao Lei, Suen Lam, Sammo Hung, Simon Yuen, Wilson Tong, Carter Wong, Yuen Wah
An early release from the upstart Golden Harvest studio, The Association is your standard kung fu revenge tale livened up by bare breasts. Lots of bare breasts. Lots and LOTS of bare breasts. The film revolves around a cop (played by Byong Yu) who is investigating a murder. The clues lead back to the "Women's Welfare Association", which is just a front for a large prostitution ring. This, of course, provides the logic in showing copious amounts of nudity.
It's hard to imagine such stars as Sammo Hung and Angela Mao mixed up in what is really just a somewhat sleazy sexploitation/softcore romp. And the movie really does feel like two pictures mashed together. There's a exposition scene, some naughty bits, and then a fight. Wash, rinse and repeat several times, and that's how The Association rolls.
The results are a bit of a mixed bag. The action is decent, but there are some shots where stuff like doubles and wirework are really obviously used. It's certainly not up to the level of the top productions of the time. As for the slap and tickle, it does go pretty far for a mainstream Hong Kong production, but really, if you're getting turned on by chicks from the seventies (e.g., lots of hair where there shouldn't be) then maybe you need to get out more.
Overall, despite the attempt to liven things up with all of the T&A, The Association is just an average chop-socky flick. It's a good way to kill ninety minutes, especially after a few beers -- just don't go in expecting too much.
Note: For many years, there has been no legitmate source for a DVD with English subtitles, but Shout! Factory has recently (as of May 2014) issued The Association as part of their Martial Arts Movie Marathon DVD collection. A review can be found here.
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