Monday, 2 July 2007

One-Armed Boxer (1972)

Being made so close after the 2 Bruce Lee's movies, it isn't hard to see that his influence on this flick is greatest (he's the greatest!!! [1]  Even if he never said so).

Here's some of the Bruce Lee Effects on this celluloid:

Kungfu Moves
Just immediately before the opening credit, Wang Yu leaps up and does the Bruce Lee kick that is immortalized in The Chinese Connection just before the closing credit rolls. Both of these kicks are in freeze frames while the credits roll. There're also some powerful Bruce Lee punches featured in this flick. No coincidence, my friend. Just be water.

Wang Yu may have turned the One-Armed Swordsman into One-Armed Boxer because SB's Change Cheh had just made The New One-Armed Swordsman, and what's more, Wang Yu had left SB for GH.

More importantly, 1 of the most dramatic impact that Bruce Lee released was turning wuxia film makers into kungfu film makers. Everyone was doing sword fighting until he came along, and then everybody was doing kungfu fighting. And then Carl Douglas released his song Kung Fu Fighting 2 years later to signal this Bruce Lee induced trend.

Cultural Diversity / Going International
As wuxia takes place in the Chinese antiquity, only Chinese are chopping each other into pieces with swords in a beautiful, ballet like swordplay. Bruce Lee's kungfu setting is much more contemporary, and in The Chinese Connection (1972). it's only went back as far as the early 20th century. What's more, in all Bruce Lee's movies, he fights non-Chinese.

These elements/situations are being reproduced in this and many subsequent kungfu movies. In this flick, a motley crews of different nationalities - all played by Chinese of course - could be seen. You could say Bruce Lee had internationalised HK film industry - at least martial arts films - in more ways than 1.

Wang Yu wasn't the only 1 whose film direction was turned by Bruce Lee, just the 1st. This wasn't too surprising as both Lee and Wang were working in GH (Golden Harvest).

Very soon, the most celebrated wuxia director in SB - Chang Cheh - followed this lead. This is more significant because he was from the competing film studio.

Man, is there an area in the HK martial arts genre that's untouched by Bruce Lee? The more I try to find it, the more I fail to find it.

This was 1 of the earliest GH produced kungfu flick outside Bruce Lee movies.

This film is included in my IMDB movie list.

[1] Here's a little fun facts: Muhammad Ali was in fact Bruce Lee's idol.

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