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Low budget kung fu story enlivened by a seasoned cast
WU TANG CLAN is best known today for inspiring an American music group of the same name, although it's a worthwhile martial arts outing in itself. It feels very much like a Shaw Brothers outing, albeit one made in Taiwan with a much more limited budget than the Shaws were capable of mustering. Thus we get a story that is set in a single location for the most part, with colourful but inauthentic-looking costumes.
As with so many of these films, the movie opens with the burning of the Shaolin Temple and various fighters swearing vengeance. Ti Lung plays against type as one of the bad guys who proceeds to round up the Shaolin survivors and 'tortures' them by having them train in the martial arts! Yes, this is another training movie, enlivened by various bouts, bloody deaths, and a lively fight climax ending.
WU TANG CLAN will win no awards for originality or fight choreography, because the fights all seem quite slow and mannered. But it's a watchable film nonetheless, thanks in part to Ti Lung who commands the screen throughout. The familiar faces of Shih Szu, Dorian Tan, and Danny Lee play in support, while the direction was handled by famous character actor Wu Ma, who also appears in support. I always found that Michael Chan Wai-Man was more convincing as an impassive villain (as he plays here) than he was playing the hero in the likes of THE HANDCUFF.
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