The Thunderbolt Fist (1972)
Reviewed by: MrBooth on 2006-06-11
Summary: 6.5/10 - mostly bad film, but good action
Those dastardly Japanese are at it again, lording over the Chinese and killing people's fathers. A band of Chinese hide up in the mountains training their kung fu for a decade, before heading on into town to dish out some righteous revenge. The Thunderbolt Fist milks the anti-Japanese theme that was popular at the time for all it's worth, presenting as polarised a view of the 2 countries as any film I can recall. The plot has some similarities with SONS OF GOOD EARTH, but is a much much less sophisticated film overall.

Direction from Cheung Yat-Woo is also rather unsophisticated, except in the fight scenes, which are choreographed and filmed with a surprising amount of energy. Stylistically, it recalled KING BOXER at times, but not quite as impressionistic. Still, the fights do impress.

Lead actor Chuen Yuen is somebody I've seen in supporting roles quite often, but never as a lead before. He's not really leading man material - he's a bit dour, and frankly just too ugly! I can quite understand why the IVL dvd sleeve gives more prominance to villain James Nam Gung-Fan, though personally I would have devoted more space to Shih Szu. Speaking of Shih Szu, she is in great form here - her character is the most interesting and likeable in the film, and she is cute is a button in a role that suits her much better than most I've seen her in. She also comes off better in the fights than I've seen from her before, though some of her kicks are weak.

If it weren't for Shih Szu and the fights, the film would probably be rather awful. Luckily, there are a lot of fights, which account for most of the enjoyment to be had. If you're not into kung fu, probably safe to skip it - but you probably figured that out from the title :)
Reviewer Score: 6

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