Pedicab Driver (1989)

July 22, 2003 • Film, Reviews

Directors: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo
Action Director: Ching Siu-Tung
Script: Barry Wong Ping-Yiu, Yuen Gai Chi
Action Directors: Mang Hoi, Brandy Yuen Jan Yeung, Sammo Hung Stuntmen’s Association
Producer: Chan Pooi Wa

Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Nina Li Chi, Suen Yuet, Max Mok Siu Chung, Fennie Yuen Kit-Ying, Lowell Lo Koon-Ting, Mang Hoi, Corey Yuen Kwai

Cantonese: Kwan Lung Fai Fung
Mandarin: Qun2 Long2 Hu1 Feng4
Genre: Drama
Theatrical Run: 02/24/1989
Country: Hong Kong

Language: Cantonese
Running Time: 91 min



Plot: A stubborn pedicab driver (Sammo Hung) who avenges the death of a friend by taking on a vicious psychotic pimp (John Sham) and his army of thugs.

pedicab1Sammo Hung gathered some of his friends (Ricky Lau (?), Lau Kar Leung, one of the Shaw Brothers’ greatest kung-fu-flick directors, and Bullet in the Head’s Fennie Yuen) to turn out a proletarian martial arts epic, about the adventures of a bunch of pedicab drivers as they try to make a living and have somewhat happy lives on the streets of Peking. The period recreation is excellent, the fight scenes are phenomenal, and the acting is even good. There is some pretty off-color humor involving Fennie Yuen’s breast jiggling as she kneads dough at a bakery, but it is somehow in keeping with this populist story of honest people trying to make good in harsh circumstances.

Sammo himself stars in this one, as the virtuous leader of a group of pedicab drivers. When his buddy Ricky falls in love with a prostitute, he helps to raise the money for a wedding. When Fennie Yuen is pursued by the pimp Master No.5, Sammo takes her in his pedicab to escape. They crash into a tea shop and the owner, Lau Kar Leung, duels with Sammo. Sammo defends Fennie and proves himself a master of kung-fu, thusly winning Lau’s respect.

But bad things are afoot. Master No. 5 doesn’t want to give up the prostitute Ricky wants to marry, and so he has them both killed on their wedding night. The scene where Sammo and Yuen Biao discover their murdered friends is one of the great pieces of filmmaking out there. Separated by a crowd of onlookers, their eyes meet. Then, they embark silently on their mission of vengeance. Stunning martial arts ensue.

Pedicab driver is told boldly, perhaps a little hastily. It is a film that is, like it’s loveable, bumbling hero, a little rough around the edges. But it has the solid feeling that the most successful of very earnest films have. This movie does not suffer from its lack of sophistication; rather, it glows with the warmth and care that went into its construction.



“Pedicab Driver (1989) A bravura combination of action, comedy, drama, romance, thrills, and tragedy. Director Sammo Hung maintains a breathless pace yet allows room for the emotional core of the characters to burn a hole in the screen. Featuring excellent performances by Nina Li and Fennie Yuen, with good support provided by Max Mok, Lowell Lo, Suen Yuet, Mang Hoi, and the director, along with an abundance of well-used cameos by veteran players. It was a revelation to see this on the big screen; sadly it is not yet available on DVD.”

—Peter Martin, A Better Tomorrow

“Pedicab Driver succeeds wholeheartedly. It doesn’t really fit into any real classification, expect the “enjoyable” one. The film is an entertaining as they come, and features probably something for everyone….Pedicab Driver is currently unavailable on video, save for a VHS release in the UK. The injustice of this act cannot be measured.”

—Kozo, LoveHKFilm

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