Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One-Armed Boxer (Du Bei Quan Wang, 1971)

Next up in the queue for Hai!Karate is a little known vehicle that spawned a sequel bigger in fame, quite a rarity. What am I talking about? One-Armed Boxer, starring Hong Kong legend Jimmy Wang Yu. This flick is responsible for the cult sensation known worldwide, Master Of The Flying Guillotine. The same flick that Quentin Tarantino and The RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan have drawn inspiration from.

The story starts out in a restaurant in a nameless Chinese town. The Hook Gang has a man cornered, about to rob him for his bird. (Yeah, who could've guessed birds in cages were so valuable.) Yu Tien-Lung(Yu) and his friends, students of the venerable Ching Te school step in and proceed to kick ass on both sides of the opening credits. The Hook Gang are actually aligned with Chao, a ruffian who supports their opium dealing and other dirt. After the brawl, the gang runs to Chao and tell him they were disrespected. Chao, furious, goes to confront the head of the Ching Te school, Han Tui who beats him down. Not happy, Chao decides to enlist some help from abroad. A slew of foreign fighters arrives, led by the gruesome Okinawan Karate Master. So gruesome that he rocks fangs and a sloppy mop that would make Manson jealous. After a fight where Tien Lung meets the Okinawan master's students and breaks one's arm, Chao and the rest arrive at the Ching Te school and proceed to take everyone out. In the midst of this, the Okinawan master RIPS OFF Tien Lung's arm with one blow. Tien Lung survives, and is taken in by a man and his daughter. He swears revenge, and begins an arduous journey with only his left arm as a supreme weapon.

One Armed Boxer is entertaining as hell, if not laced with a bit of craziness. Jimmy Wang Yu was basically in a period of his career where he was still banking serious dough based on his stint with Shaw Studios. His most notable role for them? The One Armed Swordsman. It pays to go with what you know. As a result, he directed and wrote the script for this film and its sequel. You get a straight-forward film, no extreme depth here. And you also get a LOT of bone-breaking, bloody action. I don't know what it is with some of these flicks and dudes getting thrown through walls, but it WORKS. I crack up every time. If you can, peep it in Mandarin with the subtitles, but the dubbed version works for real comedic effect. There are one or two more things I gotta speak on though...

Note the second picture above. That's Pan Chun-Lin, who plays the Indian Yoga Master Mura Singh. First, this would start a theme in a few kung-fu flicks about Yoga masters being more than you bargained for, but second, WHAT'S REALLY GOOD WITH THE CHEAP-ASS BLACKFACE THO'?!! And note his hands don't even have that makeup on. Which is like, did you not even have enough in the budget to cover painting his hands?! Also, note the little piece of Issac Hayes' 'Shaft' used in the brawl at the Ching Te school. One Armed Boxer would prove to be a subconscious influence in another arena. You can't tell me that when Nintendo created Great Tiger for 'Mike Tyson's Punch Out' that they didn't look at this flick. Here's a little sight gag for you: when the Korean fighter is introduced, look closely at the bottle he brings out to chew on. Yes, you read that right. All in all, One Armed Boxer is a real treat if you want straight-up, bare knuckle action with no pretense. Check it out as soon as possible.

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