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合氣道 (1972)
Hap Ki Do

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 03/10/2008
Summary: Classic martial arts action!

After training in Korean martial art Hapkido for 5 years, three siblings return to China to open their own school. However, with the Japanese occupying Korea, the Japanese run Black Bear school in their town objects to the opening and constantly harasses them. Even though their master (real life Hapkido co-founder Ji Han-Jae) constantly preaches forbearance, there is only so much the three can take, and eventual physical attacks from the Japanese drives them to finally retaliate.
The film is an absolute classic, with incredible action direction from Sammo Hung and top-notch fighting from Angela Mao, Carter Wong and Sammo. Authentic Hapkido and lightning fast choreography makes this one of the best 70s kung fu films ever made. Hap Ki Do master Ji Han-Jae graces the start of the film, along with one of his main pupils, Whang In-Shik, who has an outstanding final fight with the head of the Japanese school, Yamane Teruo. The plot is a little similar to Fist of Fury, and some of the dojo fight camera angles seems to be pulled directly from that Bruce Lee classic. Hapkido is still fantastic in its own right, but sometimes the tone goes a little over the top in its portrayal of Japanese dastardliness, but this seems almost par for the course for a lot of martial arts films from the 70s. Very cool to see three of the "Little Fortunes": Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Yuen Wah as Japanese students as well! Highly recommended.


Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Jackal
Date: 05/12/2007
Summary: Great

This is classic kung fu film. Without doubts and objections. One of the most known and the best film 70-h. Plot of the film are copied with such known "Fist to fury" with Bruce Lee, but it does not bad. Fighting are delivered on very high level. Their much. They varied. Young Sammo Hung and Carter Wong show the high kung fu and preparation. Final fighting the korean master VS master of the japanese school - one of the best combat scenes 70-h

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 10/07/2006

It's 1972 and FIST OF FURY has set the box office and the Hong Kong public alight with national(ist) pride. Naturally there are going to be a slew of films featuring real martial artists, righteously furious Chinese and terribly, terribly evil Japanese. HAPKIDO is one such film, spicing things up a little by importing some genuine Hap Ki Do masters from Korea (Ji Han-Jae and Whang In-Sik) and giving the most-lead role to a female fighter (Angela Mao). A young Sammo Hung gets one of his biggest roles to that date, and also provides the action direction.

I can't say I'm an expert on martial arts styles, so I can't say how accurate the Hap Ki Do used in the film is, but I imagine it to be very much so, because the action in the film is quite distinctive. A fair amount of time is spent explaining some of the signature moves, largely involving joint locks/breaks and some Tai-Chi like redirection of your opponents force. Ji Han-Jae is apparently one of the top practitioners, and his demonstrations in particular are very convincing. Whang In-Sik is more impressive physically, though, with great power and speed. I have to admit to being less fond of Angela Mao than many others are... I have no doubt she is the "real deal" in terms of martial arts skills, but she seems strangely awkward and ungainly to me. I prefer the more fluid, graceful and perhaps feminine martial arts of people like Kara Hui, Yeung Jing-Jing and Michelle Yeoh... Angela fights too much like a man!

There's quite a good supporting cast of martial artists, including Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao in there somewhere

Outside the martial arts (both physical and philosophical representations) I guess the film doesn't have that much going for it... neither characters or plot have the slightest depth, and production values are decent for the time but not as luscious as a good Shaw Brothers wu xia pian might have been. How much you enjoy the film is likely to be proportional to how much of your liking for martial arts films is the martial arts themselves.

I've actually owned several versions of this film over the years, but they've all been sufficiently lacking in some respect that I never got past the first 15 minutes. It finally got a decent release courtesy of Hong Kong Legends in August 2006, with a nice master provided by Fortune Star. Hopefully more of the early Golden Harvest MA films are set to follow!

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 09/16/2006
Summary: Derivative, but still great!

Three Hapkido students (Mao Ying, Carter Wong and Sammo Hung) travel back to China from Korea to start a new school to fight the oppression of the Japanese controllers. Mun Wei (Sammo Hung) is a young hotheaded fellow though, and soon attracts too much attention to himself by fighting with the brash, thuggish students from the Black Bear school (which is owned by the occupying Japanese). Violence escalates, and Yu Ying (Angela Mao Ying) takes matters into her own hands.

Relax, fight fans – HAPKIDO has now been re-released in a remastered widescreen print with the original Mandarin dialogue and subtitled in English. And it looks magnificent.

The plot of HAPKIDO is obviously the weakest link as it is an almost direct copy of FIST OF FURY (but with a Hapkido school). There are so many similarities I’m not even going to start pointing them out. The one thread of originality is in the use of a foreign fighting style (Hapkido, obviously) as the basis for the film. So instead of the Chinese versus the Japanese, we have the Chinese AND the Koreans versus the Japanese. And how do the Japanese fare in all of this? Well, what do you think? Actually, they’re probably not as comic-book evil as they are in FIST OF FURY, but they’re still pretty bad (and most seem to favour Hitler-esque moustaches). It’s another case of the Chinese filmmakers playing to the gallery, then.

What makes it a standout essential classic is (surprise, surprise!) the fight scenes. Considering that this film was made in 1972, the choreography (provided by Sammo Hung) is fast moving and exciting – especially the finale, which sees Whang In-Shik and Angela Mao dismantle the rival school (and its personnel) in an unforgettable manner. If for no other reason, this film is essential for seeing Whang In-Shik on the side of the heroes for once!

Angela Mao Ying, although displaying the moves (and the looks – she’s so cute and tiny!) of a true star, for me she doesn’t have enough physical presence to carry a film of this nature on her own – probably due to her tiny stature. Here, though, she is surrounded by talent so you hardly notice.

Speaking of talent, this is another of those films where watching the stuntmen and extras is as entertaining as watching the stars. There are many stars-in-waiting playing bit parts in this. Most will already know that Jackie Chan appears (and provides at least one of the more painful-looking stunts), but there are others. See how many you can spot!

It’s great that this film has finally been given a proper release. Sure, it’s derivative, but it’s also so damn entertaining and exciting!

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: bkasten
Date: 04/21/2005

Expectations were rather low going into this. After all, it is 1972 vintage, and the print quality is just horrendous. Nonetheless it has Angela, Sammo, Carter, and newcomer Whang In Shik. How can it miss? Unfortunately, as we all know, a good cast does not equate to a good movie...nor to good action.

The story itself is the well-known rival Japanese-run martial-art school during the murderous Japanese subjugation of China. As such the story is similarly evocative of the contemporaneous "Fist of Fury." Although given the feelings associated, one cannot help but feel that playing that "card" is just a bit panderous. It's arguable. It does most certainly elicit a lot of anger, that much is certain. And ultimately this is what drives this movie: seething anger...leading to lots of violence and murder.

Frequently (although unfortunately) anger and violence can lead to satisfying action, and Hapkido is no exception, as it's the action that makes this movie a real standout. Sammo must have worked very hard on this one and it shows. His choreography is nearly perfect. The fights between Carter and Pai Ying as well as the final fights between Angela and Pai Ying as well as the ultimate fight between Whang In Shik and the main baddie (with Angela bailing out Whang In Shik from last minute defeat) are as well done as anything ever done, and I suspect far better than any of its contemporaries--including, most importantly, the highly lauded Golden Harvest movies with Bruce Lee.

Most of all though this is a fantastic Angela Mao showcase. She is in no way compromised to gender modes, roles or stereotypes. She's loyal, angry, powerful, and completely ruthless, and displays some of her best and most convincing on-screen martial arts ever. She is the ultimate uncompromising hero here, and I simply loved every minute of it.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: leepifer
Date: 04/20/2005
Summary: Bruce' sister

I didn't know what to expect from an old kung fu but the name's Mao and Hung are enough to me to have a watch.
It is actually quite good because of them(and Carter Wong)as they give some very good fights and they seriously play their roles.It is a little slow but for 1972,Sammo did a good and inspired job.He knows how to give relieves of the Angela Mao's abilities and Carter Wong and of course himself.
The movie goes on and is well rythmed by the action sequences.
The Bruce Lee aura is planing on the movie.
Mao is a sort of lee'sister who defends the rights of the chinese against Japenese;and she finally give a kind of authenticity since she was the actress who played with Bruce!So she replaces him to defend the Chinese Martial Arts against those evil Japaneses who want to impose their power!
A good one to have for the history.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: mpongpun
Date: 07/23/2002

Fan Wei (Sammo Hung), Yu Ying (Angela Mao), and Kao Chung (Carter Wong) return to China to open up their Hap Ki Do school. The Black Bear School, Japanese sponsored and owned, is out to run the new Hap Ki Do school out of town before they get established with constant attacks, harassments, slander, and until finally Fan Wei and Kao Chung dies. Yu Ying must fight for the honor of her Sifu's (Master Chi Hon-Joi) teachings as well as revenging the death of her slain brothers against the Japanese bullies. Luckily, help is on the way in a former classmate (Whang In Sik) who will help Yu Ying take on the Black Bear School in a fight to the death.