6.1/10
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14 user 23 critic

Shao Lin men (1976)

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A survivor of an attack on a rebel group opposing the Manchu invasion of China creates the Goose Fist fighting technique and tries for revenge on a traitor.

Director:

John Woo (as Wu Yu Sheng)

Writer:

John Woo
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Cast

Credited cast:
Tao-Liang Tan ... Yun Fei (as Dorian Tan)
James Tien ... Shih Shao-Feng
Jackie Chan ... Tan Feng (as Chan Yuan Lung)
Ching Chu ... Autumn Moon
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pao-Shan Chang
Chun Chao Chun Chao
Feng Chen Chen Feng Chen Chen
Sheng Chiang
Chi Chu Chin
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung ... Officer Tu Ching
In-han Jang In-han Jang
Jeong-Kuk Jang Jeong-Kuk Jang
Chi-Ming Lam Chi-Ming Lam
Ke Ming Lin
Feng Lu
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Storyline

Superkicker Dorian Tan Tao-liang plays a Shaolin student who must find a Manchu traitor responsible for the murder of the abbot. Jackie Chan is a spear fighting expert who decides to help Tan because the traitor killed his brother. Part of their mission is to help a scholar make it safely across the river without getting killed from the Manchus. Written by Albert Valentin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for martial arts violence and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

15 July 1976 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Strike of Death See more »

Filming Locations:

Hong Kong, China See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Golden Harvest Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

DIRECTOR CAMEO: (John Woo): Plays the scholar defended by the three heroes. See more »

Quotes

Yun Fei: Men who beg are not heroes. They're cowards.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Jackie Chan: My Story (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Underrated Woo Film
11 January 2007 | by kwhuneycuttSee all my reviews

The Hand of Death aka Countdown in Kung Fu (1976) is a vastly underrated early work by director John Woo. The film stars Dorian Tan (Tan Tao-liang) and features Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and James Tien in significant supporting roles. Many people believe, or have been lead to believe by deceptive advertising, that this is a Jackie Chan film. This is not a Jackie Chan film, Dorian Tan is the star but Jackie gives one of his best (most serious) early performances.

The Hand of Death is about a Shaolin disciple named Yunfei (Tan) who is sent on a mission to assassinate a Shaolin traitor named Shih Xiaofeng (Tien) and protect a revolutionary named Zhang Yi (Woo). Along his journey Yunfei meets up with a young woodcutter named Tan (Chan) and a disgraced sword fighter (Chang Chung) known as "the wanderer." Both men have suffered at the hands of Shih and want to take revenge. The three team up to defeat Shih and his eight bodyguards and escort the revolutionary to safety.

The martial arts action is above average under the direction of Sammo Hung. Dorian Tan uses his trademark high kicks very effectively as the "Northern eighteen styles kicks" along with some "Southern five styles boxing." Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan provide excellent martial arts performances as well. James Tien is not the greatest martial artist on the Jade screen but does an acceptable job. Some of the early fights are a bit slow and seem over choreographed but the final showdowns featuring Chan, Tan and Hung are very good.

Director John Woo provides plenty of interesting character development in the film, which is refreshing. The cinematography by Leung Wing Kat is very stylish, unique and beautiful for a kung fu film of this era. Joseph Koo's music: a combination of soft flutes and 70's "Shaft" style orchestral pieces is kung fu cinema at its best. Hand of Death is not Jackie and Sammo's usual kung fu comedy. Hand of Death is a serious, straightforward revenge driven story.

Hand of Death aka Countdown in Kung Fu is an underrated classic in the old school kung fu genre. The film is one of the best artistically of its time and a preview of the great things to come from Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung. Hung's great choreography is put on display here before his directorial debut and Chan's early charisma and talent can be clearly seen.

Hand of Death is a solid, stylish old school kung fu film and a brilliant early work of the legendary John Woo.

Kung Fu Genre Rating 7.5/10

Wanderer to Tan (referring to his new weapon): "The Little Eagle Wing God Lance."

Tan: "Just a knickknack."


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