The Chinese Boxer (1970)
Director: Jimmy Wang Yu
Tagline: Kung Fu vs. Karate fight!
When Judo arsehole, Dio-Erh, turns up at the local martial arts school and starts throwing people through walls, one of the students runs to get local hero Lei Mung (Jimmy Wang Yu) from his job at the mine. The teacher of the school turns up at the same time and hands him his arse. He staggers off threatening to return with Japanese Karate masters to teach them a lesson.
The teacher of the school tells his students that there is a problem with some people getting full of themselves after learning kung fu and causing trouble. He tells them that the real reason they are learning it is to make a contribution to society.
The setting of Chinese martial arts verus Japanese will be familiar to anyone who has seen Fist of Legend (Jet Li) or the Chinese Connection (Bruce Lee). It also has similar themes to a recent movie Walking Tall (The Rock).
The obligatory ‘bad guys trash the dojo’ scene is spectacular in its violence and over the top action. The students get punched through walls and spit bright red blood after getting hit. There is also a lot of shouting and fists and feet going through walls.
This suits the boisterous nature of the movie and even though it is a bit old fashioned it is also a lot of fun.
As you would expect all the students and the master are killed and the bad guys turn their dojo into a dodgy casino. Lei Mung is recovering from his injuries in secret and his girlfriend begs him to get better before trying to get revenge.
Flashback to his former master telling of a way to beat karate and we begin the training sequence. This features the hero running around with lead weights in his leg warmers and the ye-olde “cauldron full of hot sand” sequence (the simple things are the best.)
Having trained for a year, our hero begins his vigilante action against the casino’s thugs whilst wearing a surgical mask and mittens to hide his identity. This comes to a head when he torches the casino and the bad guys plot to kill him with some JapaneseKendo experts.
Our hero then turns up at the casino the next day and they lock him in to sort it out. Afterwards there is a moment of unintentional hilarity when one of the Kendo masters slashes with his sword, accidentally sending a crony’s head flying.
Having dealt with most of the gang, he tells them to meet him in the snow on the mountain for a final battle. I won’t go into that much detail, but there is a lot of snapping trees in half and hard punching going on.
This is an excellent movie if you are a fan of the kung fu revenge genre that was popular during the 1970’s. While the west had Charles Bronson killing thugs with his gun, Jimmy Wang Yu was the man, years before Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan was still doing bit parts as a stuntman.
Special mention must go to the extras on this DVD which include the original release trailer and a new release one (I like the old one better.) Also it has some information on the movie and a short biography of some of the lead actors and director if you want to find out more. There are a few more extra features that I hadn’t got around to checking yet.