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南北腿王 (1980)
The Invincible Kung Fu Legs

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 05/16/2009

Dorian Tan Tao-Liang and Ha Kwong-Li, bootmasters extraordinary, make it easy to ignore the many drawbacks in “The Invincible Kung Fu Legs”. She is attractive, a decent enough actress and looks as if she could kick the moon out of the sky. He is attractive, a poor actor and is to the art of kicking in martial arts movies what Rembrandt was to painting or Beethoven to music. An entire movie of the two of them strutting their stuff would be a delight but since that wasn’t available “The Invincible Kung Fu Legs” with all its dreadful acting, unfunny comedy and boring cinematography will have to do.

Some of the comedy works. Physical comedy, in this case losing one’s pants, falling face first into a bowl of fruit or being stuck in an embarrassingly exposed position translates better than verbal humor like puns or irony. It takes athleticism, graceful movement and exact timing. But a little of it goes a long way. One might find the first pie in the face funny, the fifth less so. By the one-hundredth, definitely not. An early example has the spoiled Phoenix treated like puppet by her imperious teacher who relaxes eating grapes while casually operating a system of pulleys and ropes that tug and twist Phoenix into the various forms and stances his method requires. It is a good conceit, introducing Phoenix, her sycophantic servant and the hyper-confident and competent sifu. The master doesn’t break a sweat, the servant stumbles from one disaster to the next and Phoenix gets helplessly entangled in the ropes. It is funny at first, then becomes boring then annoying—and is one of the better non-fighting sequences in the movie.

All that aside however—we are here to see Tan and Ha kick up a storm, exactly what they do throughout the film. An early confrontation in the marketplace is sublime, with both of them immobilizing thuggish bullies. Ha uses her height to great advantage—her axe kick coming from above to land on a head or shoulder and able, it seems, to kick down on anyone. Tan can do anything involving his legs—here his side kick stops with the blade of his foot against an assailant’s throat. This is a typical move in action movies but Tan executes it with such grace, speed and (one must say) elegance that it looks new.

The opening sequence features the two stars joined by others in the cast demonstrating some astonishing leg fighting moves. 90 minutes of this would have been just about right.

Difficult to put a number on this—it is at least a nine for the action scenes but the rest of it would barely register.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: AV1979
Date: 09/25/2008
Summary: Amazing Display of Kicking

This Lee Tso-Nam film is a definitely look at the different styles of kicking. Tan Tao-Liang shines as Tan Hai-Chi, a Northern kicking expert who kills his cheating opponent only for the deceased's ground kicking brother Pan Pak (Peng Kang) opts to get revenge. Meanwhile, Tan is asked by good friend Master Mo (Sun Jung-Chi) to train spoiled brat Phoenix (Hsia Kwan-Li) in his style of kicking.

As always, Tan Tao-Liang is a delight to watch as he unleashes his graceful kicking skill to the max, showcasing his flexibility and sheer leg hopping style. Hsia Kwan-Li is graceful as well, displaying her flexibility as she has a mean back kick as well as an axe kick that can rival that of John Liu.

The opening sequence alone is worth the price of admission as Tan, Hsia, Peng Kang, Chin Lung, and Sun Jung-Chi all showcase their impressive leg techniques.

The fight scenes, choreographed by Peng, Sun, and Wong Yiu are definitely worth seeing as well as the comic relief of Chin who tries anything to get Tan out of Phoenix's house and fails miserably each time.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 04/12/2003
Summary: Impressive, but way too old and way too slow

I'm definitely not one for this kind of movie, and I found it impossible to sit through. As usual per old school Taiwanese movie, the editing stinks, and acting is nonexistent, and the attitute is annoying.


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 04/25/2002
Summary: Very impressive Kung Fu Legs!

We were warned up front that the movie featured great fights, but absolutely dreadful humour in between. The presenter really made a point of preparing us for the worst, and truly the comic relief character is very annoying and stupid, but with low expectations the audience was able to laugh at it, if not with it.

The audience might not have been forgiving of the comedy if we'd been mislead about the action, but no chance there. Ha Kwong Li plays a spoilt rich girl who thinks her kung fu invincible, and that the teacher her father has hired (Tan Tao Ling) cannot possibly teach her anything. A scuffle with some ruffians soon sets her straight, and she begins learning the secrets of Tan Tao Ling's martial arts.

(More) trouble arises when Tan Tao Ling's mortal enemy tracks him down, seeking revenge for his brother's death. Everybody gets involved in everybody elses problems, they fight a lot and grow as people.

The story for the movie is good, and the fight & training scenes are excellent... Tan Tao Ling & Ha Kwong Li both do some incredible leg work, as the movie's title suggests. Well choregraphed seens of physical virtuosity. And if you're adequately prepared, the dumb humour is hilarious for all the wrong reasons too.


Reviewed by: 5elementninja
Date: 12/31/2001
Summary: Outstanding technique.

A stubborn rich girl trained in the northern kicking style has her master leave on vacation thus a replacement master is put in place. She is constantly giving him a hard time but as it turns out her new master is being hunted by the master of the crouching kick who is bent on revenge for his brother's death. Excellent movie not starring the usual set of actors.

The opening sequence to this film is absolutely outstanding! Extremely smooth and fluid techniques from these kicking experts.


Reviewer Score: 9