The Undaunted Wudang (1983)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2008-08-24
Summary: Fast combat and an incredible Lin Quan...
After their master is killed, a group of students decide to take on the Japanese fighters that committed the crime. The group from Japan is touring the country and holding tournaments to prove their style's superiority. After a challenge turns into an all out melee, Chen Xue Jiao (Lin Quan)'s colleague is killed and it appears that her other friends are turning against her. After, with the help of roaming fighter (Chiu Cheung-Gwan), she barely escapes an attack by hired thugs, she leaves to find her master's classmate, the head priest at the Nashan Temple in the Wudang Mountains. He teaches her the internal style of Wudangquan through a series of training methods. After she masters the style, she heads back to take on her scheming classmate and the Japanese in a fight to the death.

The two leads, Lin Quan and Chiu Cheung-Gwan are really fantastic martial artists (and former champions) and the speed and fluidity they show is really astounding. However, the fights are a little too "wushu choreographed," and if you watch old wushu national championships from the 80s you'll see what I mean. They are extremely well executed, but it is obvious that they have been practiced hundreds and hundreds of times. That is not particularly a bad thing for competition, but in a film it takes away from the spontaneity. There is no hesitation in any of the moves, but there is also not much of the element of surprise. The reactions to strikes look a little too rehearsed and exaggerated. There is some very interesting handheld-like camera work and long, single takes during the fights, but it gets marred a bit by poor editing. The real revelation in this film is Lin Quan. I'm shocked that she wasn't used more for mainland films. Her grace and power rival any martial artist, male or female, who appear in kung fu films. There is a section in which she demonstrates Wudanquan that is really breathtaking, as well as a move where she slices a log in half while she is completely inverted and a couple of feet off the ground. I've watched it about 10 times in slow motion and still cannot figure out how it is accomplished. Despite the few flaws, Undaunted Wudang is quite an exciting, action-filled feature.

As an aside, Lin Quan is currently an instructor at the Wushu & Arts Centre in Kowloon.

8/10
Reviewer Score: 8