The Thunderbolt Fist (1972)
Reviewed by: bmwracer on 2006-08-09
Summary: Shih Szu is the star
What's special about this film is the nostalgia factor (for me) and its pretty (and deadly) star Shih Szu. Odd, though she has top billing in the movie, the two men, Nan Kung-Hsun and Chuan Yuan, are the main protagonists and they are the only two shown on the DVD cover. But Shih Szu does get more than her share of screen time to do some ass-kicking.

The film is formulaic in many respects, given the production date (1972): the noble Chinese vs. the wicked Japanese, the young son witnessing his father's death at the hands of the Japanese, and the son learning a special kung-fu technique (the Thunderbolt Fist) to get revenge. Throw in a considerable amount of kung-fu, swords, and bloodletting, and you've got a pretty good popcorn movie. People were so ga-ga about Tarantino's gore in "Kill Bill/Kill Bill 2," but folks, these Shaw Brothers flicks are where he copped it all from.

The kung-fu action is quite good, though the conclusion of the final battle between the hero Tie Wa (Chuan Yuan) and the villain Gu Gang (Nan-Kung-Hsun) was preposterous, even by kung-fu movie standards. Shih Szu's character, Die Er, steals every scene: she's petite with a pixie-cute smile, and conversely, lethal with a sword, her bare hands, and a belt chock full of throwing daggers. Honestly, the final battle was anti-climactic: seeing Shih Szu doling out loads of whoop-ass it what sells the film.

The video and audio quality of the Region 3 DVD was very good with no apparent scratches or flaws in the image. Color saturation was very good as well. There were a number scenes that were out of focus for some reason, and I think it was from the original source. Completing the DVD compilation were just the typical trailers and selected bios, nothing to write home about.

But thanks to Shih Szu, "The Thunderbolt Fist" gets an 8 out of 10.