Friday, July 4, 2008

Shaolin Deadly Kicks (1977) (aka Tai ji ba jiao/The Flash Legs)


After a botched robbery, eight criminals (known as the eight dragons) decide to split a treasure map between themselves and reconvene in three years to claim their reward. Years later two policemen are catching up with the members, and after one's death, Fong Yee (Tao-liang Tan) declares war on the rest of the dragons and starts tracking them down one at a time and collecting their pieces of the map. After saving a young woman from her arranged marriage to a dwarf, Yee soon discovers that her uncle is one of the last of the dragons, leading to an explosive finish as Yee battles the Scarred Dragon (Lieh Lo from Five Fingers Of Death) with his furious array of kicks.


This is more like it. While once again dealing with a pan & scan job that cuts off a great deal of the action (and i'd guess there's at least a couple of minutes missing from the plot), this remains a worthwhile kung-fu effort and keeps the kung-fu coming at an impressive pace . Tao-liang Tan doesn't make for a charismatic lead, but the star of the film is his ability to kick, and his skill is shown off in a number of nicely choreographed battles. The plot gives a reasonable framework to deliver the fights, and though most take place in grassy fields, there is enough variety in the action to keep the audience's attention. The ending is sudden (as is often the case in old-school kung fu films), and the climactic fight between the two leads (along with the lady-friend, played well by Doris Lung) doesn't stack up to some of the earlier fights, but there's enough here for an easy recommendation.

Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but a solid kung-fu entry. And it has a dwarf.


Ash said...

Certainly it's an improvement in the title department, at least.

Colin said...

Hopefully you survive these films, my friends and I did something smiliar with a box of 20 horror films, because the last three was a Vincent Price film, Dementia 13 and White Zombie. That meant we had to suffer through 17 movies that were Manos-levels of bad (especially Snowbeast).

Doug Tilley said...

It's at least a little easier to go through these since, while the collection is titled Martial Arts, it actually covers Ninja films, Bruce Lee rip-offs, shitty Italian action films, and a few other genres. I'm working my way through Fred Williamson's "Black Cobra" trilogy at the moment.. Pretty weak.