Lee Van Cleef and Lo Lieh star the this 1974 mix-up of martial arts and spaghetti western, with a dash of comedy even thrown in. Van Cleef is Dakota, a thief, and Lieh is Ho Chiang, a young karate master.
Dakota pulls an after hours bank heist, breaking into a series of safes, only to find a single picture of different naked women in each. When he puts dynamite on the fifth safe, the bank owner, an old Chinese named Wang, rushes in to stop it and is killed in the explosion. All he finds in that one is a stale fortune cookie.
The sheriff and his deputies appear to arrest him and he’s put on trial for murder.
Meanwhile in China, the Emperor is highly displeased to learn of Wang’s death. He’d sent the old man to America with a fortune to invest. Wang’s dead and the fortune is missing. Ho Chiang is brought in and threatened with death, along with his family, bringing on a martial arts fight straight out of that genre, complete with all the sound effects.
After the battle ends, the Emperor gives him one year to find and return his money or the family will be killed.
When Chiang arrives in town, several months have passed. Dakota has used all his wiles to drag the trial out, but he’s now been convicted and scheduled to hang the next day.
Needing to talk to Dakota, Chiang hatches a plan to get thrown in jail. He spots a sign above a saloon that says “No Negroes, no Chinese, or unaccompanied dogs allowed.” He walks in leading a dog on a leash, a fight starts, the sheriff arrives, only to be punched. Instant arrest.
Dakota reveals that the old Chinese’s death was an accident. He’d tried to stop him before he rushed up just as the safe door exploded open. The uncle’s lawyer bails him out, giving him the old man’s legacy: a thousand in an account, the four pictures, and the fortune cookie.
What he does is break Dakota out and take him on as a partner. He needs a guide as there is an address on the back of each photo. The fortune in the cookie says “At the bottom of every woman is a treasure. “Four women: An American, a Russian, an Italian, and a Chinese.
As the two men find each of the women, they have to contrive to look at each woman’s butt because there is a piece of a puzzle tattooed on each. A former gunfighter turned slightly insane preacher, a gambling hall owner, a British aristocrat touring the west, and the young Chinese returned to her family are the men they have to convince.
The insane preacher is pursuing them, having figured it out, a Mexican bandit and his men get involved, and Chiang falls for the young Chinese woman.
This movie was entertaining, I laughed out loud several times, enjoying the whole thing pretty much. One thing I didn’t expect, though I should have, is that Van Cleef is not the main player here. It was 1974, near the end of the spaghetti reign, and he was getting a bit of age on him after about ten years of many films.
The film was a co-production of Carlo Ponti and the Shaw Brothers out of Hong Kong and was directed by Antonio Margeriti.
Here is the trailer as it appeared under another title, The Stranger and The Gunfighter, in the U.S.: