Return of the Chinese Boxer (1977)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2005-08-02
Summary: Purity of heart and good kung fu top guns and knives
Somewhere along the line—perhaps between the fight when Jimmy Wang Yu stands on the point of his enemy’s spear and the appearance of the Thai boxing zombies—“Return of the Chinese Boxer” abandons it’s already sketch plot. Which is fine—the movie is more a string of excellent action scenes, each more fantastic and outlandish than the last, propelled by the necessity for a final battle between the Chinese boxer and the champion of the evil Japanese empire.

Along the way the movie reveals a number of things. For example, the Japanese army was resourceful, courageous and disciplined in the face of the enemy. They also had guns that fire bullets that cause the person hit by them to leap into the air before he falls down dead—even if that person is already lying on the ground. Also, the type of tournament in which masters of various martial arts and weapons fight each other until only one is left alive was quite popular in much of Eastern Asia—exactly the same tournament was held in “Master of the Flying Guillotine”, in what appears to be the same arena and possibly even the same gong to signal the beginning each fight. MOTFG was also directed by, produced by and starred Jimmy Wang Yu—no point in wasting a good idea by using it only once.

Only the Japanese had guns—which put the Chinese army, armed with spears and swords, at a disadvantage. The Japanese were on their way to meet with a traitorous Chinese general as part of their plan for an early version of the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. In trying unsuccessfully to stop them, a lot of Chinese soldiers died under their guns and without much effect.

But the Chinese boxer, with superhuman strength, incredible balance, the ability to absorb enough punishment to kill ten men and the knowledge that he had righteousness on his side, was able to stop them. There were a few lame attempts by the Japanese early on to kill him but nothing very serious. For example, the Chinese boxer was cornered in a shack by a squad of soldiers armed with rifles. Other soldiers used grappling hooks to pull the shack down so they could shoot him, but they found that escaped out the back door—apparently the invaders where not the sharpest tacticians.

Jimmy Wang Yu essentially reprises his One Armed Boxer role from MOTFG—in both movies he is slow to speak and sometime almost Delphic in his words. He works alone, is fanatically devoted to keeping China free from foreign invaders—here the Japanese, in MOTFG half of Asia—or at least their representatives.

As both reviews before this one have mentioned, this is a fun movie to watch with just about everything a fan of 1970’s Hong Kong martial arts movies could want. I had the Crash Cinema DVD. It is dubbed into English and sounds as if the actors doing the voices had watched a lot of American westerns. Letterbox format, although info is cut off from both the right and left sides—the top and bottom seem fine.

Reviewer Score: 7