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Tang lang (1978)

R | | Action, Drama | January 1984 (USA)
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.

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Cast

Credited cast:
David Chiang ...
Wei Fung
Cecilia Wong ...
Tien Chi-Chi (as Hsing-Hsiu Huang)
Lily Li ...
Chi-Chi's Mother
...
Chi-Chi's Grandfather
Norman Chu ...
4th Uncle (as Shao-Chiang Hsu)
Hung Wei ...
The Emperor (Guest star)
Wilson Tong ...
3rd Uncle (as Wei-Cheng Tang)
Hoi Sang Lee ...
Mongol Fighter (as Hai-Sheng Li)
...
The Monk (Guest star)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lung Chan
Ming-Wei Chen
Chok Chow Cheung
John Cheung ...
Uncle Tien Chung (as Wu-Lang Chang)
Wah Cheung ...
Guard
Chun Chin
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Now that he learned the secret...he was ready to kill!

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

R
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Release Date:

January 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deadly Mantis  »

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2.35 : 1
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Referenced in Missing Reel: Hong Kong Action (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
interesting tale of conflicting obligations
18 March 2017 | by (downtown, Michigan) – See all my reviews

This is an unusual and interesting story of the often conflicting, or even contradictory obligations in certain situations in a Confucian society. It is also quite bleak in its conclusion, which often occurs in Shaw Brothers, revenge-driven Kungfu movies, but more so given the conflict of family, romantic and social ties in this film. An oft-recurring theme in Shaw Brothers' films is the lingering Ming resentment of Qing rule, which also is prominent in this one.

There are historic inaccuracies, such as a romantic lead, Chi-chi, who happens not to have bound feet, which would never have occurred in a noble family circa early Qing dynasty, and this would have precluded any martial arts study for women. But the dominant story plot is the hero's conflicting obligations to family, political loyalties and the intimate affairs of the heart.

None of this becomes clear until the second half of the movie, although it is clearly outlined early in the film. Some of the romantic elements develop slowly, perhaps a bit tediously, in the first part of the movie, but conflict deepens quickly with the resultant tragedy and grim conclusion of the film. The "mantis" element in the film seems slightly contrived, and unessential to the broader thrust of the movie, and some of the early fight scenes in the movie lack the luster of other Shaw Brothers' efforts. But the movie is still worth a look!


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