方世玉大破梅花樁
The Secret of the Shaolin Poles (1977)


Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 05/27/2003
Summary: Star studded kickfest

Some great talent is put to pretty good use here. Like all successful fu films, the plot finds every possible excuse to get the good fighters to fisticuffs and footicuffs. There are two long set piece fights atop the poles and they are rippers. The other fights are damn good too.

I have a couple of quibbles. First, Doris Lung doesn't fight. All she does in this movie is pout and slap a couple of faces. And the great Dorian Tan, even for playing a great teacher, is underused.

And the sequencing of the story is a bit odd. Example - the final fight. It's pretty good, and resolves the tension between the main villain (Chang Yi) and the hero (Mang Fei, of course). But it's nowhere near as engaging as the pole fights. The director stuffed up by putting the action highlights in the middle of the film rather than at the end.

These could have been major problems, but they don't detract much from the final product. For all that they nearly ignore two great stars, what the rest do is terrific compensation, especially Kurata-san, who is in top form. Warmly recommended.

Reviewer Score: 7