Directed by Bruce Lee veteran Wei Lo, Slaughter in San Francisco was really shot in San Francisco, so it has that going for it. And if you've ever wanted to watch the barely sentient, Huckabee-approvin', Obama-hatin' slab of granite known as Chuck Norris play a villain who gets his ass kicked, it also has that going for it.
Like the majority of kung fu flicks in the early 1970s, Slaughter in San Francisco was never intended for American audiences, and it didn't hit these shores until Norris became a movie star over here. He did not dub his own voice, and his performance is all the better for it. Also, all the white cops are given Irish accents, which is awesome.
The blurb on the initial VHS release -- which we carried at The Video Zone in Fresno, obviously -- includes some fantastically damning faint praise:
While the Dirty Harry films were famously made with the cooperation of the San Francisco Police Department, often shot in their actual offices, Slaughter in San Francisco had to settle for Daly City. So, all the San Francisco cops in the film wear Daly City badges and drive Daly City cop cars, even while patrolling Market Street. The geography of San Francisco suggested by the editing of the intro makes the car chase in Bullitt look like ... well, like the car chase in Bullitt.
The first big fight scene, and my favorite, takes place on Ocean Beach. Hey, that's my neighborhood! As is the tradition for action movies, the sound effects are a tad exaggerated, especially when someone falls on the sand.
Hero cop Don Wong has been suspended, and while working at a restaurant to make ends meet, he encounters Chuck -- and the business end of Chuck's cigar.
Partially up Twin Peaks, Chuck tries to recruit Don into his employ, extolling the virtues of Chinese assistants.
Chuck's goons kill Don's partner, and in memoriam, Don pours a Coors over his grave. Um, thanks?
Chuck spars with wooden boards. SPOILER ALERT: The boards lose. (They also out-act him.)
Don fights a goon on top of what I believe is a building in SOMA. I think that's the old Embarcadero Freeway in the background.
My other favorite scene in the film, the brawl at the corner of Burlwood and Bella Vista, with a hilarious "Cheese it, it's the cops!" resolution. Also, I didn't even know there was a Burlwood in San Francisco until I saw this movie.
Yep, there it is.
We'll just skip past the part where Chuck tries to rape his brother's fiancee (icky!) and go straight to the final battle between him and Don, which is not at all homoerotic in any way, shape, or form.
Y'know, in a perfect world, Chuck Norris would have never been heard from again after this movie.
Oh well. It's still a pretty good world.