The Unbeaten 28 (1980)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2009-03-21
Summary: Well done triple duty for Joseph Kuo
The Unbeaten 28 is a Meng Fei led martial arts fest produced, written and directed by the renowned Joseph Kuo. After his parents are killed by Shaolin monk-gone-bad Yen Chan Chin (Mark Lung), Wu Xiao "Tiger" Tung (Meng Fei) is raised by his father's close comrade Chen Cheung (Jack Lung). Tiger's entire life is based around training in kung fu, seemingly for the chance to exact revenge on Yen for his multiple atrocities. When he becomes ready, Tiger is sent to the Tai Shin temple in order to test himself in their chambers and hopefully be rewarded with the special Tai Shin kung fu manual. Through a set of rigorous obstacles that test every facet of his training, Tiger finally is rewarded with the manual, but is it enough to allow him to take on Yen and put the spirits of his family and friends to rest?

Though it has seemed to have flown beneath the radar, The Unbeaten 28 is an excellent martial arts film that never had my interest wavering. There are a few weak comedic scenes, but for the most part it is a dramatic and dark story. Although in other films I have failed to be impressed by Meng Fei, he actually holds his own in this, undoubtedly helped along by fast and intricate choreography by long time martial arts stunt man Max Lee. Lee actually participates in probably the best fights of the film as he portrays the "spirit" of the Tai Shin temple, embodied in a strange, doll-like man. Although there are a few weapons-based scenes that are heavily edited and a bit under cranked, for the most part all the fights are well done. Unfortunately, even though they are mortal enemies in the story, the director Kuo only had Mark and Jack Lung fight once, and it lasts for about 20 seconds. This is quite disappointing, considering he had two of the best on-screen martial artists at his disposal, set up perfectly by the script. However, with truly imaginative training chambers, nice production values, great sound effects and dramatic music, The Unbeaten 28 is a nice hidden gem.

7.5/10
Reviewer Score: 7