The Fierce Fist (1976)
Reviewed by: STSH on 2003-04-18
Summary: A blow against womens lib
This one is enjoyable but with pangs of guilt. Apart from generally fighting on the same terms as men, women don't usually get a very good deal in fu films. This is true for the two lead female characters here.

Su Ling Lung (who is incidentally the title character of the Chinese version) is married to a violent and jealous bastard who divides his time equally between slapping her and slapping the man who he thinks is messing with her. Yet at the end of the film, he suffers no punishment, and even ends up fighting on the side of the good guys. Ugh.

Shiu Chow fares a little better, though superb martial artist Chia Ling still plays this character as deferring to the superior talent of her on-screen fiance Sher.

If you can set this aside, the film is quite enjoyable. The standard of fighting is high and is terrific to watch. And, being at the lower end of A-grade production, the film is pleasant to look at. Well-photographed and colourful, and the women look great, even after extensive slapping !

There's a couple of memorable screen gimmicks here. The only being whom the hero cannot defeat with fu is a guy in an awful gorilla outfit (he is scared off with fire). And the main villain fights by tossing around a huge gold pumpkin like a wrecking ball.

The acting is generally not so hot. Yueh Hua maintains the Sumo Wrestler Code i.e. no matter what happens, keep the same neutral expression. Chia Ling spends most of the film pouting, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The acting standout is Got Siu Bo, who does a terrific job as the deaf mute, who can nevertheless express a lot by grunts and wailing.

Recommended, but with some moral reservations.
Reviewer Score: 7