The Brutal Boxer (1972)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2012-02-26
Summary: Doesn't star Chan, but not bad otherwise...
Billed as a “lost” film, Brutal Boxer is a somewhat above average basher filmed entirely in Thailand. Hsiao Cheng (Ray Lui) and Wu Sheng (Guan Shan) are brothers who are looking for their uncle. They stop and eat at a restaurant they think their uncle owns, but when it comes time to pay the bill, they find out that they were mistaken and unfortunately for them they had no money to pay. Hsiao Cheng, a hot head, decides to fight it out, and the brothers’ martial arts skills are recognized by the true owner of the place, King Chan (Chan Sing). Chan hires the brothers in return for helping them look for their uncle. Hsiao is added as an enforcer while Wu is utilized for his intellect on the business side. As time progresses Chan’s adopted daughter, Ying Ying (Tanny Tien), falls for Wu. Somewhat predictably, it turns out that the brothers’ uncle is refusing to take protection money from Chan and is constantly being harassed as a result, despite the efforts of his son Chin (Mars) to beat the thugs away. Through a series of strange but related events, Chan kills Wu for an insurance policy, Ying Ying for refusing to collect the resulting money and the uncle for just being a pain in his side. Hsaio realizes what has happened and teams up with Chin to take on and kill the entire gang.

If you find this film on the shelf, it is no doubt being marketed as starring Jackie Chan. Do not be fooled by this claim as Jackie is strictly an extra in the fight scenes. He doesn’t have a single line, and if you totaled up his screen time it would easily be less than 10 seconds. This shouldn’t detract though from a movie that is pretty enjoyable, especially in the last 20 min. There are fights galore, and although it isn’t the best choreography ever done, the guys involved make the action look good. Ray Lui is very good, but the standouts are Mars and Chan Sing. This is one of the larger roles I’ve seen for Mars, probably won for his excellent screen fighting skills. Although self-admittedly his looks held him back from starring roles, his action abilities are on par with the best in the business. Chan Sing, a staple in the 70s kung fu genre, is also excellent. There is a strange, forced appearance in a fight by an unfamiliar face who must have been a top professional boxer or Muay Thai fighter at the time. He clearly has real world ring fighting skills, but makes an abrupt departure from the scene after dispatching a few thugs. The final fight is as hinted at in the film’s title, BRUTAL. There are copious amounts of blood, exploding eyeballs and numerous blunt object impalements. Guan Shan, in his only directorial effort on record, clearly wanted to go out with a bang and doesn’t skimp on the violence. It’s an exciting way to close out a film that ended up being surprisingly enjoyable.

For those looking specifically for Jackie in the fight scenes, there is only one where you see his face. The opening battle in the restaurant has a thug punched (or kicked?) and he slides across the floor and hits his head on the wall. The final shot is the pained expression on the thug’s mug as he hits the wall, clearly it is Jackie. The other scenes it may not be as evident as to which one is Jackie from their faces, but if you’ve watched enough of his films, you can tell by his body movements and reactions to being hit which one is probably Chan. In the fight at the house by the river between Ray Lui and Chan Sing’s thugs, Jackie appears to be wearing a yellow shirt with vertical blue stripes. Later, in the fight between the thugs and Mars at the uncle’s outdoor restaurant, my guess is Jackie is the thug wearing the mustard colored collared shirt. Finally, he appears to be in the final fight wearing a white shirt and white wide bottom pants that have red triangular inserts at the bottom.

6/10
Reviewer Score: 6