Monday, 2 July 2007

Boxer from Shantung (1972)

Chinese title: Ma Yong Zhen.

Boxer from Shantung (1972)Some director like the legendary King Hu, who sticks to his established genre of wuxia, and wouldn’t waver from the changing landscape of the industry. Chang Cheh, on the other hand, is more flexible than an Olympic gymnast, contortionist or Indian yogi. When he thought the HK swordplay could do with a bit violence, masculinity, and gore that he saw in Japanese Samurai genre, he quickly incorporated them into his HK wuxia flicks. When he learnt of the box office success of Bruce Lee’s 1st kungfu flick, he didn’t give it another thought and gave up his title as 1 of the best wuxia director, and got busy in making kungfu films. In fact, he never looked back on his wuxia film making since.

He already made a few kungfu flicks by this film. This just his most noteworthy since he made the switch from wuxia to kungfu genre. This flick starred with Chen Kuan-Tai, who had real solid training in martial arts, and 1 of the choreographer being Liu Chia-Liang who later made his own string of reasonable successful action flicks few years later.

The gore that Chang Cheh kept pushing (or gushing) is BLOODY clear in this film. An axe attached to the side of Chen Kuan-Tai’s abs like an appendix while he fights an army of baddies. His pants are wet, in fact, soaked completely with his own blood. The audience got all the typical delicious ingredients of a violent kungfu flick – blood, sweat and no tear. Men in Chang Cheh movies don’t cry, they laugh in the face of death. That’s exactly how the movie ends, Chen Kuan-Tai laughs, and the goon slices his back with an axe, he tumbles down the stairs, drenched in blood, he gets up, and laughs some more, and more…thanks heaven the closing credits start to roll...


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