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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Surprisingly good martial art adventure from the last days of the Shaw Bros.
A clear story line, really well choreographed fight scenes and solid direction makes this obscure Shaw Bros. production a joy to watch. It's a bit more serious then some of the other films from this period but the fights are all very unreal.
There are remarkable scenes with dozens of fighters that are clear and exciting with great kung-fu performances from even the bit players. The fighting style is a 60-40 mixture of wire- fu and more traditional movie kung-fu. The editing is really good and keeps the often absurd flying around from getting really silly. When the fight scenes settle down, the quality of the actors' fighting movements really make up for the wire work. Kara Hui is absolutely wonderful in her first big fight scene in the movie.
I really enjoyed his film with a slight reservation for the last half hour which started to resemble a Golden Harvest film from the 1970's. The quality was still top-notch but the situations got cartoon-like. The film just ends abruptly also.
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