Slaughter In San Francisco

黃面老虎 | Yellow Faced Tiger | Karate Cop | Huang mian lao hu
 •  , , ,  •   • Dir.

Reviewed by   |  Feb 21, 2024

Probably remembered most for an early-in-his-film-career bad guy role from Chuck Norris and mostly seen in a re-cut and cut down export version (clocking in at 84 minutes), ‘Slaughter in San Francisco’ (or ‘Yellow Faced Tiger’ to give it its original title) is now seeing the light of day in its full 102-minute version.

San Fran police officers Don Wong (Wong Tao) and John Summer (Robert Jones) are just two cool cops, cruising the city, practicing their kung fu, when they happen across what looks like a young woman (Sylvia Chang) being assaulted by two dodgy dudes. One of said dodgy dudes is the brother of local crime boss Chuck Slaughter (yep, Chuck Norris) who doesn’t take too kindly to the interfering coppers: especially when the chief of police is in his pocket. John Summer is swiftly slain, Wong kicked off the force, and the corrupt police chief attempts to frame the young woman’s family for the crimes. Wong has no choice but to seek vengeance and stop Slaughter once and for all using his killer kung fu moves.

Helmed by the then prolific Lo Wei (‘Fist of Fury’, ‘The Big Boss’) and giving Wong Tao (‘Secret Rivals’, ‘Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow 2’) an early leading role, ‘Slaughter in San Francisco’ is some often cheesy but action-packed old school martial arts action. Coming off the back of ‘Way of the Dragon’ where Norris was the featured bad guy going toe-to-toe with Bruce Lee, ‘Slaughter in San Francisco’ was originally reedited to cash in on Norris’s newfound popularity and introduce him sooner in the film. The new remastered version of the original cut puts everything back in order and means Norris isn’t introduced until an hour into proceedings. An early bad guy role from him before he became the All-American hero seen in his later starring roles, Norris plays good bad and chomps up the scenery, bare chested, hairy and all!

This is definitely Wong Tao’s vehicle and while he doesn’t have the intensity or charisma of Bruce Lee, makes for a likeable lead and gets to kick all kinds of ass. There’s lots of energetic kung fu fights with the best, of course, being the showdown between Tao and Norris. Proceedings do tend to drag in between the fight scenes and the film is never as gritty as it should be (or thinks it is). However, that said there’s plenty of old school B-movie madness to keep things entertaining such as the deliciously corrupt chief of police, Wong and Summer bursting into random bouts of kung fu sparring before high-fiving (!), the stunning San Francisco locations, and the aforementioned surfeit of martial arts action.

There’s an underlying theme of racism between white Americans and the Chinese living in the Bay Area at the time (leading to some outdated characterization and actions of some of the characters!) that does give the film a serious edge, despite it giving way for the inevitable B-movie action silliness. The film looks stunning also, the newly restored longer version highlighting some fantastic widescreen photography that captures the San Fran locations stunningly.

Sure, it’s somewhat dated, never as fully fun as it could be and perhaps too fondly remembered as a Chuck Norris vehicle, but ‘Slaughter in San Francisco’ is still some entertaining old school, Golden Harvest-produced kung fu fun worth rediscovering in its newly restored and original cut.

Eureka Entertainment will release ‘Slaughter in San Francisco’ on UK Blu-ray (featuring both the re-edited 84-minute and the full 102-minute versions) on February 26, 2024. You can order it now from
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