Flying Fists of Kung Fu Review No'1
Flying Fists of Kung Fu is a 12 film compilation set spread across four DVD's . with rare Kung Fu films from the smaller studios in Hong Kong ,Taiwan in the 70's 80's.
All of the transfers may not be great as many are from VHS or poor quality prints, but to see the films featured on disc ,this is the only way.
Unlike films from the same time from the big studios which get remastered releases ,well in the far east at least.
Some of the films may not be cutting edge or have the cult status as maybe the film before it on the same disc.
But as introduction to the more not easy to find films this compilation is a good bargain for some chop- Socky action.
Starring Judy Lee Ling Chia
Directed By : Raymond Liu
The Crane Fighter – 1979
aka: Champ of Champs
For our first review from this 12 film compilation 3 disc set we look at one of the highlights of the whole set, that's not to say other films in the set are bad ,but The Crane Fighter is a film worth having the set for. Especially when the price of the set is only slightly higher then buying a copy of the The Crane Fighter by it self..
First things first though , as is often the case with these type of compilation sets , I would not go expecting high quality remastered prints with all the trimmings you may find on a disc from say Dragon Dynasty or the Sword Masters label.
This is due mostly in part to the fact that most of these independent films from Hong Kong,Taiwan from the 70's and 80's have never been treated to such luxury.
So what we have here is a English dubbed print which is pan and scanned and looks like it's taken from a VHS transfer. But that won't spoil the enjoyment of the film to much I'm sure.
If watched on a big screen or a projector in a 4.3 format it will just be like your back in time watching the film in some seedy late night cinema with sticky seats and the odd tramp snoozing in the corner and maybe the odd smell of pee.
With it's grainy screen and speckles it like you entered a time machine ..
The film in question is a true classic and one that most should view if they have not.
Judy Lee Chia Ling plays Ping erh , a daughter of a exiled Shaolin master , along with with his brother they have lived in secret , never showing the knowledge of Shaolin Kung Fu and there speciality ,The Crane Fist style.
Ping secretly learns the art with her father kept in the dark.
But when she ends up showing her technique when coming up against a abusive monk she ends up putting her family s and her-selves life in danger.
What makes matters worse is when the son of a local magistrate decides he wants to marry her it causes other problems, what's worse is the son is a nut case who has trained in a special style of Kung Fu which has sent him insane, basically he has become a overly large humped back man that acts like a five year old on drugs .Plus he has that brilliantly annoying stupid voice that seems to be the norm for these films from the 70's and 80's that decided they needed to add some comedy to the proceedings.
But aside from him we also have a mystery man who comes to the rescue to help Ping and her family on a number of occasions. Referred to as Busy Body in the film the character played by Raymond Liu is also a excellent fighter.
Judy Lee gets to show some excellent kicks and feats in what is one of her starring roles, trained in acrobats and fighting from a young age Judy also entered Peking Opera to finish of her training.
Between 1972 and 1982 she made around forty films ,many of which are hard to come by now. So it's a joy to see even this low quality print getting a release in any form.
The film culminates into a a series of well crafted fight scenes , all directed and choreographed by co- star Raymond Liu.
In the end it will be the Manchu against the Shaolin , where Ping and her new found love Busy Body will take on the Manchu in a fight to regain Shaolin's honour .
The film offers some side stories as well with Busy Body helping out a young girl and her father , and a fight tournament where Ping decides the only man that can marry her is one who can beat her at Kung Fu.
But in the end your be watching for one thing only and that's Judy Lee kicking butt in what many consider her best role .
I myself can't really make that decision on watching this film alone , though I think I have seen Kung Fu Queen aka Queen Boxer but not much else .
As a stand alone independent Kung Fu film from the 70's The Crane Fighter is a one of those must see films and be prepared to hit that rewind button to catch all the action.
Take one of the score if you don't like the fact that the only available print is a VHS transfer.
Score out of Ten = 7
Review Date : October 2014
Review By : Sertes Nake
Judy Lee Ling Chia
Hua Chung Ting
Chi Ping Chang
Chin Hai Chen
Country- Hong Kong/Taiwan
Language - Mandarin / English Dub
Produced By - Success Film Production Company