Starring: Angela Mao,Jhoon Rhee,Carter Huang,Annie Winton
Directed By: Huang Feng
Copyright © 1973 Golden Harvest / Joy Sales
Another classic hits our screens and the site ,it's Golden Harvest's classic ''When Taekwondo Strikes''.
Set during the Japanese occupation of Korea it evolves around a resistance group who are trying to restore Korea to it's own rule.The leader of this group Lee Cheng Tung (Jhoon Rhee) is in hiding taking refuge in the local catholic church as the gardener.
But when fellow Korean Patriot Kim Cheng Chuh (Carter Huang) gets in to trouble with the local Banson Karate school he is hunted down to the church.
Now the Banson Karate school was a secret organization set up by the Japanese to infiltrate and stop any resistance groups from forming in the local areas.
When the Banson men arrive at the church ,the priest Father Lewis tries to shun them on their way ,but when they refuse and the gardener(Lee Cheng Tung) gets picked on for being Korean the fathers Niece gets rial-led and starts to fight them .In the commotion Kim ,who is hiding behind the priest in his alter box gets found and all hell breaks loose.
With the Banson men in retreat the Gardener admits to the Father who he is and that he has taught his niece ''Mary'' Taekwondo.Now Lee must take Mary and go in to hiding ,the Father refuses to go and says he will stay as he is a foreigner in the land what can they do?.
Well qiute a bit i might add ,as now the Banson men are back in force and the Father is taken after being beaten.
Woorried about her Uncle ,Mary asks Lee to find about him,Lee can not go himself so he aks a young Chinese girl ''Huang Li-Chun'' he knows who sympathizes with the Koreans as well .
Thing is when Li-Chun goes to the church ,the Father is no where to be seen,but the Banson men are lying in wait to see who turns up.They start to harass Li-Chun and after some words she agrees to go with them.As they walk behind her she starts to run .To the woods she goes ,now she has them where she wants them.
Now Li-Chun is a expert fighter in the art of Hapkido and in the fight she starts to get the better of the Banson Men and one is killed.Even the mighty Banson Enforcer played by Sammo Hung Kam Bo has a problem .It all becomes unfair when the swords are drawn but using the trees as cover Li-Chun prevails and gets away.
Returning back to her mums shop /cafe she makes out nothing has happened,but Banson men show up and accuse her of killing their men,Li-chun declines she is the culprit and that they have made a mistake ,but their are Banson witnesses and now she must fight again to stay alive ,but one thing she did not watch out for was Banson Enforcer (Sammo) getting his sword and driving threw her mother in cold blood.(this was shockingly done and to see Sammo in such a nasty role was a surprise) .
Now Li-Chun takes refuge with the Korean patriots and Lee Cheng Tung,Now Mary goes to the Banson headquarters to try and talk reason with them ,and try and se her uncle.But when they bring her Uncle out all beaten and stripped ,she is most distraught.The Banson men propose that if Lee Cheng Tung comes and gives himself up they will release the Priest .They tell Mary to leave but not without Banson enforcer (Sammo Hung) deciding to give her lessons in Karate so to speak,Surprised by her abiltity in Taekwondo the battle is not a easy one for the Banson Man.More so when Mary takes a chunk out of his leg with her teeth.
With Mary returning to Lee Cheng she relates their demands,Lee decides he will go and tell the others to go to China and fight the war against the Japanese their .Mary is told to stay and support her uncle.
The following day Lee goes to the Banson headquarters against the wishes of his colleagues .On entering the courtyard all the Banson men are waiting for him ,outside our intrepid trio have followed him and are waiting outside.
With Father Lewis shouting for him to go away ,in-front of Lee they kill the Priest and Lee is surrounded ,in a fight he can not win with so many assailants .With the use of some nasty looking hook spears they capture Lee and subdue him.
Taking him down to the dungeons (as you do) they hang him up and ask him to name the rebel leaders .When confronted by one of his own disciples ,a young man (bloody new that Bastard was dodgy).
Outside the other s decide to go to China ,well at least Li-Chun and Kim do.Li takes him to her local town and stay with her Uncle.
Now the Banson branch in China is in the same town (of course it is ,or when will we have a finale).
Mary our young Virginian girl who's uncle is dead now has followed our heroes to China and has rejoined them.The Japanese decide to bring our tortured Lee to China to lure out the rebels and nab them once and for all ,and with the help of his fellows in China the Banson leader (Kenji Kazama) hopes it will be a easy task.
When Kim,Mary and Li-Chun hear of this ,Li decides they should hold up and plan a attack ,while out Kim and Mary decide to go it alone and fight their way in to the Japanese headquarters.
With Lee shackled to a post Mary and Kim enter in to a battle with the two leaders of the Japanese Banson group ( Kenji Kazama and Whang in Sik) .
Now they are doing OK ,But their not going to come out on top with out help and just as the Japanese subdue both parties our heroine Li-Chun comes storming in to confront the Banson men,Holding in her hand the list of rebels she vows if they beat her the list is theirs ( she knows they have no chance) .But Lee screams in despair for her to not to do so.
As Li-Chun enters the battle with a large Japanese Guy built like a shed in a Gi it looks like our others have found new hope and gusto.Lee is breaking away form his shackles and when he breaks free the fight begins for supremacy .Who shall win,Taekwondo ,Karate or Li-Chun's Hapkido?.
In the end rightousness will prevail and all will be revealed.
With action like this from Golden Harvest you can not go far wrong.With so many top fighters in one film the fights come thick,fast and brutal.Jhoon Rhee stars in his only film portraying his fine display of Taekwondo which he pioneered in America.
Angela Mao once again shows she has a presence on screen to stop you dead and look ,combined with her expertise in Hapkido she is a joy to watch.But it's when you add the likes of Whang in Sik (Hapkido master) and Sammo Hung Kam Bo ( a master of style and arts all in one) you have a film that is a must own for all Old School Kung Fu fans.
Carter Huang is reliable as ever showing if his skill in a vast range of fighting (you see he did make other films not Just ''Big Trouble in Little China).
Miss this and your missing a genre defining piece ,miss this if your a Taekwondo fan and your doing yourself a injustice.
Score out of Ten = 10
Review Date: 22-11-2010
In some Regions the film was Known as ''Sting of the Dragon Masters '' and also ''Taekwondo Heroes'' .
Also it was the Only Film that Jhoon Rhee appeared in .