Pedicab Driver is one of a few Sammo films overlooked on it's release, possibly due to the rise and rise of fellow Peking Opera schoolmate Jackie Chan, possibly due to Sammo being an unlikely star. Personally i don't buy the last one. Sammo is, and for me always will be a true Icon of martial arts cinema.
The Film follows the fortunes of a group of pedicab drivers as they get to grips with rival drivers, fainthearted lovers, gang bosses and pimps. What it isn't is a all out action movie, It kicks off to an impressive start with a brawl in a restaurant with many familiar faces from the world of martial arts cinema. esp. Sammo's stock cast. Watch out for a great Star Wars moment. Eric Tsang steals the opening as an unfortunate chef. And the film settles into the everyday? stuff of boy meets girl, Sammo bearing the brunt of a joke (with his toes),.
Somewhere in the meandering plot (or this would have taken an easy 5) Sammo earns the respect of Gambling Den boss (Lau Kar Leung) in one of those confrontations Martial Arts fans dream about. Loses his girl, Loses a friend and rather nestly ties it all up with a standout scrap in a mansion that should have you wincing at the impacts. Mr Vampire star Lam Ching Ying appears briefly as a kindly vendor. Yuen Kwei puts in an appearance as a belligerent pedicabber. (or is it just his face?)
The DVD's that exist of this film are pretty poor fare. This version came in a 2-disc Special Edition (Their description, not mine) which contained a 4:3 version with burnt in subtitlles and Cantonese dialogue picture quailty was flat and the subtitles, as is often the case with burnt in titles, just vanish into the picture. It also had the distinguishing feature of a built in "Loo Break" in the form of a pause (With Black screen) while the operator either inserted a new laser disc or flipped it!
The other disc features a "Widescreen" version with Dub (and i HATE dubs) but marginally better picture quality. In terms of contrast in the image and less film artefacts but has that fuzzy, just come off tape look probably copied from a VHS.
It also has a documentary which looks like it was copied from television and then plonked onto the DVD to justify the Special Edition tag. And some trailers for films Quentin Tarantino wuold like.
On a last technical note The DVD I recieved didn't perform too well in my DVD players. The Thomson refused to recognise it (Either Disc). The Panasonic recognised the Dubbed Version. In the end the Subbed version had to be remastererd in order for it to play properly. So be aware. It's Cheap! but you may have to work on it.
However, If you're a fan of Sammo's films. Find It!