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Wu quan (1976)

 -  Action | Comedy  -  1976 (Hong Kong)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 57 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

A woman uses her knowledge of kung fu to kill many warriors by kicking them in the ribs and head.

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(as Chen Jhy Hwa)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay)
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Title: Wu quan (1976)

Wu quan (1976) on IMDb 5.8/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ting Chao
Chi-Hwa Chen
Hou Kuang Chi
Kai Chia
Paul Chun ...
Ku Cheng-yuan (as Chin Pey)
Shao Hsiao
Pu-Liao Hsu
Shih Hao Ko ...
(as Ko Pao)
Wen Tai Li
Pao Lu
Angela Mao ...
Fei Fei
Dean Shek ...
(as Shih Tien)
Jung Chi Sun
Yung Ku Sun
Ai-Chi Wang
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Storyline

A woman uses her knowledge of kung fu to kill many warriors by kicking them in the ribs and head.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Comedy

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Release Date:

1976 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

The Eternal Conflict  »

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A must for the Angela Mao fan
26 January 2011 | by See all my reviews

This is a movie for Angela Mao fans. Most others will be disappointed, but for the Mao fan it is unmissable.

Angela plays a (male) beggar who's involved with a kung fu school. When her school is attacked by an evil rival school, she is chased into the countryside where she immediately discovers two elderly kung fu masters (the landscape must be crawling with them). These two are fighting each other for fun, trying to find out who's best. For the last 20 years, they have been meeting every five years to test their skills against each other, but it's always a draw. Angela suggests that they teach their styles to her, and then she can use it on some bad guys, and whoever's styles are most effective, will be triumphant. The old guys cannot resist this, and start teaching her.

As a result, the movie is totally full of both training and fighting against enemies. Enemies are everywhere, it seems, and revenge is mentioned often; it is apparently just about the only thing kung fu is used for. I think this is another part of the movie's intentional genre satire.

Dance of Death is primarily a comedy; all elements of the story and acting are devoted to comedy. Most of the comedy is so silly as to be awful, but little bits of it are all right, largely thanks to Angela Mao's charisma and cheerful acting. She hams it up as a man, effectively exaggerating everything for comedic value. I don't think she's supposed to be a woman dressed as a man; I think she's actually *playing* a man, with her obvious female wiles (and the dancing bit) simply being part of the movie's intentional comedy.

The movie, although it has its funny points, would be something of a loss if it wasn't for Angela Mao herself. She is many classes above the rest, and a joy to behold. She has marvelously beautiful moves, and is herself marvelously beautiful - at the top of her career here, I would say. Because the movie and much of the fighting is comical, there is indeed a certain intensity lacking. A previous reviewer mentioned how the fights often look like "carefully planned, elaborate stage performance", as they often do in the not-quite-first-rate kung fu movies, and this is true. It tends to get rather dull to see a lot of formal acrobatics where the combatants rarely if ever touch each other, and the whole sequence often feels highly artificial. However, I will say that Angela Mao makes the fights in this movie look better than that. Her every move is obviously expert and admirably graceful, and for a kung fu fan it is absolutely delicious eye-candy. Much of the movie commands your very close attention because you don't want to miss any of the cool fighting. That's a good thing for a martial arts movie to do.

The main bad guy of the movie, that Angela and others labor to beat, practices something called "upside-down horse boxing", which is simultaneously immensely cool and immensely silly; in short, pretty outrageous. And speaking of silly, the movie parodies strange kung fu styles by inventing a "dancing girl" or "concubine" style, after which the movie is named, but which in fact only plays a minor role in the story. It is an intensely comical element, and of course Angela Mao makes it look very cute.

My Rarescope DVD was cheap and well worth the price. Still, despite being a recent release, the poor-looking (and poor-reading!) subtitles are hard-coded from some old cinema reel, which is a disappointment. The DVD also has an English dubbing track, with dialog that is different from the still present hard-coded subtitles. I often despair at why the heck we never (never!) get proper, professional subs for movies like these. Without knowing what they're *really* saying, we're never really given a full and whole version of the movie. :-(

Jackie Chan's name is on the DVD cover, which is something of a misnomer. He was "stunt coordinator" on the movie, but whether that also means action choreographer, I don't know - I doubt it. It's true that some of Angela's acting and fighting style look very Chan-ish, but I don't think Jackie's influence was all that pervasive here.

Without Angela Mao, the movie would not be worthwhile, rating at most a 3 or 4 or so. But with her, it is very worthwhile for fans of her, and receives from me a 6 out of 10 rating. It's even possible I may later emend the rating to a 7.


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