King Boxer (1972)
Reviewed by: STSH on 2002-04-07
Summary: Impressive
Comparisons with The Chinese Boxer are hard to avoid. Fong Min, Chiu Hung and Wong Ping play pretty much the same characters in both films. Lo Lieh changes sides, this time as the hero. Similarly too, this is an A-grade Shaw Brothers production and, while lacking the stunning cinematography and slick editing of TCB, still looks great.

But KB is no pale copy. TCB could be read as a rehearsal, and KB the improved second shot, on two fronts - acting and martial arts choreography. Though the acting is still hardened melodrama, it is more involving and believeable than TCB. And the fight scenes range from good to top-notch. It's easy to see why this film was the breakthrough HK martial arts film in the US. One sources even credits this breakthrough with allowing Bruce Lee's film to quickly gain audience share overseas.

The cast boasts over a dozen top badass punchers and kickers, as well as a few lesser-known talents, and most of them get a fair amount of screen time to show off. Of course, any film about boxing and revenge is liable to be gory and violent. King Boxer is at the high end of the cruelty scale. The scene where Ji Hao's hands are broken is hard to watch.

The plot contains quite a few twists and, for me anyway, some genuine surprises. It connect the fight scenes and paces very well. Warmly recommended.
Reviewer Score: 8