The Third Master (Erh Tung Sheng, aka Derek Yee, in the role that launched his career) is considered to be the greatest sword master of the day. His displays of skill and strength bring ... See full summary »
A Chinese man (Liu) marries a Japanese woman through an arranged marriage and manages to insult all of her Japanese martial arts family by issuing a challenge to her that is misinterpreted ... See full summary »
A couple unite - she is fluent in the crane style of kung fu, he in tiger style. They have a son, but the boy's father is killed by the evil eunuch Bai Mei. Disguised as a girl, his mom ... See full summary »
The anti-Ching patriots, under the guidance of Ho Kuang-han, have secretly set up their base in Canton, disguised as school masters. During a brutal Manchu attack, Lui manages to escape and... See full summary »
Shaolin Mantis (Orig. Tang lang) is a 1978 Shaw Brothers film directed by Lau Kar-leung. Starring David Chiang and Liu Chia Hui. Shaolin Mantis tells the story of a man who learns martial arts by observing a praying mantis.
A young martial artist seeks revenge on the Ninja who kills his martial arts brothers and teacher. He finds help in the form of a new teacher (who knows Ninjitsu) and new brothers. Together... See full summary »
THE SPIRITUAL BOXER is as handsomely mounted as many a Shaw Brothers production, but the plot lacks a certain something. The hero of the piece is Wong Yue, playing a confidence trickster who employs various methods to convince audiences that he's possessed by the spirits of various gods, thus making a living from people's gullibility. After a while, he makes enemies of a gang of thugs while at the same time being asked to investigate a haunted temple.
The film is notable for being one of the first examples of the knockabout comedy genre later popularised by Jackie Chan. Wong Yue gets up to all manner of mischief with his tricks, but he lacks the genuine charisma of many of his peers. Still, there's much fun to be had with burning coals, red hot pokers and the like, although my favourite segment is the pure horror scene in a haunted building which is up there with the best of Hong Kong's black magic movies.
THE SPIRITUAL BOXER lacks the kind of well-choreographed action that we know so well from the studio's classics, but that's not to say that it's without incident. Scenes of Wong Yue getting possessed by the monkey god and the like are a lot of fun and neatly prefigure later movies like KNOCKABOUT or ENCOUNTERS OF THE SPOOKY KIND. Fung Hark-On has a meaty role as an antagonist and there's an odd opening sequence featuring Ti Lung and Chen Kuan Tai which has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. In the end, this is a watchable movie but it's not as funny as others and doesn't have the great action of others, so it's rather an odd, middling combo.
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