One-Armed Boxer (1971)

Posted in Reviews by - October 30, 2022
One-Armed Boxer (1971)

Jimmy Wang Yu throws everything at his first directorial effort after his controversial exit from Shaw Brothers, remixing his two most successful films during his tenure at his former studio, One-Armed Swordsman and The Chinese Boxer, to create One-Armed Boxer. It’s a bonkers, relentless rival schools story in which Wang Yu shows his penchant for the surreal, pitting his Chinese boxer against an array for foreign fighters, each more bizarre than the next. Fighters include a Tibetan monk who uses his qigong skills to inflate his entire body like a balloon; an Indian yogi who balances on his hands and spins around his opponents; and a wild Okinawan fighter (Lung Fei) who, for some reason, has fangs like Dracula, and tears off Wang Yu’s arm about halfway through the movie. He is rescued by a benevolent old herbalist and his daughter who tells Wang Yu about how to master the ‘crippled fist’ – which essentially involves him shoving his only working hand into a fire pit, and then slamming a rock on it. Pretty soon, he is exacting his revenge, storming through the enemy dojo and punching people through the walls. He faces off against the various bosses in sequence, like different levels in a video game, before heading off to the hot springs of Korea to confront Lung Fei in a final deadly showdown. This is a no-nonsense Wang Yu basher which shows the filmmaker settling into his own idiosyncratic groove of wild kung fu filmmaking. The film’s kookiness might be too silly for some audiences, but it does make up for some of the less-than-slick fight choreography. The indirect sequel, 1975’s Master of the Flying Guillotine, is considered by many to be Wang Yu’s masterpiece.

AKA: The Chinese Professionals (USA title).

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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