A Chinese immigrant named Chin How lands in a small Texas town inhabited by hard-nosed cowboys who don't take kindly to outsiders. The town folk soon realize that Chin is no ordinary drifter and he quickly gains a reputation for his unbeatable fighting skills. When word of Chin's skills spread to Stanley Spencer, the owner of the states largest cattle ranch, Chin lands a job working for Spencer as a fellow cowboy. Friend soon becomes foe when Chin realizes he is working for a cattle smuggler bent on brutalising Mexican farmers and anyone else who stands in his way. Written by
The Fighting Fist Of Shangai Joe (Mario Caiano, 1973) **1/2
Minor, enjoyable and surprisingly violent Spaghetti Western, one of a clutch of such efforts embellished with an Oriental touch in the form of a martial-arts exponent hero (as can be gathered from the title). The film was enough of a success to boast a sequel THE RETURN OF SHANGAI JOE (1975).
Chen Lee is the typical meek Oriental who becomes deadly when provoked; we're given plenty of opportunity to see him at work here, particularly after he falls foul of a slave trader. The latter despatches four ruthless assassins to exterminate the Chinaman three of whom are played by well-known actors and popular Euro-Cult figures of the era: Gordon Mitchell, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart and Klaus Kinski, the other by Robert Hundar (ill-fated hero of CUT-THROATS NINE , which actually preceded this viewing!). Kinski receives second-billing but his contribution lasts all of 7 minutes (and he only turns up 68 minutes into the film!).
Eventually, we learn that the title character is one of only two masters of a specific martial arts technique so, naturally, the boss eventually calls on his equal to fight the hero! The most violent moments occur when Joe gouges the eye of one of the hired killers a scene which surely must have inspired Quentin Tarantino for his KILL BILL (2003/4) saga and the confrontation between the two Orientals, which involves dismembered limbs and busted torsos! As usual for films of this genre, the music score is a notable asset which is here provided by Bruno Nicolai.
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