The Tournament (1974)

Posted in Reviews by - October 08, 2017
The Tournament (1974)

Barnstorming Angela Mao Ying vehicle made at the height of her powers at Golden Harvest. Following their success dabbling in the Korean arts for Hapkido and When Taekwondo Strikes, director Huang Feng and fight choreographer Sammo Hung turn their attention to a different foreign martial arts style for this one: Muay Thai kickboxing. This involves actually jetting off to Thailand to film some local colour as well as taking in a few competitive kickboxing bouts, while the rest of the film is completed on the same studio lot back in Hong Kong. Like their previous films, a rich stream of nationalistic anger fuels this head-kicker, in which Angela and Carter Wong play the children of a disgraced kung fu master. He is made a laughing stock when rising debts cause him to enter Chinese fighters into Muay Thai bouts in Bangkok, only for them to fail miserably. The old man hangs himself out of shame, leaving Angela to lead a charge in restoring the family name, jetting off to Thailand to smash up the locals. Not satisfied with just the one national humiliation, the film also focuses on a second cultural snub involving a Japanese karate school who move in on their turf when they’re away kicking butt in Bangkok. The film stinks of calculated hysteria and there’s very little in the way of plot. But Sammo’s streetwise choreography still leaps off the screen, perfectly embodied in one of Hong Kong cinema’s greatest leading ladies.

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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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