King Boxer (1972)
Reviewed by: pjshimmer on 2002-02-07
Before I do my actual review, there's a couple of things to point out.

1) I hate this kind of movie.

2) The USA title "Five Fingers of Death" is very misleading. Do not think for a second that this is not a primative kung fu movie with your average arm-throwing and punching. There is not one second of a decent shot of the so-called Iron Fist technique, which Lo Lieh was suppose to use, since 90% of the movie was about him training for it.

3) There is one major, most-noticeable flaw. It comes in about 2/3 of the movie when Lo Lieh's hands gets hurt. His kung fu brother had told him that a opera singer was meeting him for an important chat, in order to trick him into the hands of those who hurt him. When the opera singer discovered Lo Lieh, she was not suspected by him at all.

That said, let's do the review. I'm quite confident that this is not only the first, but also one of the finest, 70s style kung fu movies around. It began the kung fu crave in the 70s which was unlike any other period for kung fu madness. When you think of kung fu, Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee always come to mind; but do keep in mind that Wang Yu and Lo Lieh of the Shaw Brothers are the grandfathers of the kung fu (not wuxia) genre.

There are a lot of sterotypes of this kind of kung fu movie (e.g. you kill my master, I kill you), and while this movie possesses many of these abnomible traits, one must keep in mind that this is the one that brought them about. Let's give it some credit for originality. I don't think the "jealousy, traitorous disciple" concept had ever been used before this movie. And don't think for a minute that this is your average cliche that follows all stereotypes. True, into the first half of the movie I thought it lacked emotion and sympathy for anything, but give it some more time and you'll see that it's quite well crafted. There are many well-developed characters, which is VERY rare for a 70s kung fu movie, because later when the genre had become so popular, the movies simply stopped focusing on characters, and action was all that mattered (which is why I hate this subgenre). While this movie does lack some dialogue, it does a pretty good job making up for it in its well-roundedness.

I really hate 70s kung fu movies, so believe me when I say this is one of the best you can find.


P.S. When you get to what you think is going to be the finale, there will be 3 more climax fights. So hold on and enjoy the rest of the ride!