Challenge of Death (1978)
Reviewed by: STSH on 2000-03-24
Summary: Okay Eastern Western
The director of this film must have watched spaghetti westerns by the truckload ! Example : the front credits sequence features a hog-tied petty crim being dragged behind a horse through desolate valleys with music probably pinched from Sergio Leone.
Anyway, this is really two films in one. The first is a story of a cop and a crim who sort-of eventually cooperate against a common enemy. The second is an instructional film about three styles of kung fu.The film actually opens with demonstrations and explanations of the styles - dragon fist, snake fist, and the "most difficult, most painful and most deadly" spider fist. In many of the fights, each fighter announces his next move and brags about his skill. For instance, "watch my dragon fist", "Snake shedding his skin", "Falling dragon". In a real-life fight, this would be very unwise !
Anyway, there's plenty of stop-motion choreography, which gradually gives way to smoother and more realistic fighting, and the climactic fight, pitting our two heroes and their styles against the one villain with his deadly spider fist.
Reviewer Score: 6