|Rating: The Good – 72.4
Genre: Martial Arts
Duration: 104 mins
Director: Chang-hwa Jeong
Stars: Lieh Lo, Ping Wang, Hsiung Chao
Two rival Kung Fu schools prepare for a tournament of champions but one is willing to stop at nothing to ensure victory even if it means killing the rivals off. Five Fingers of Death or “King Boxer” as it is also known was one of the earliest martial arts films to come out of the Shaw Brothers’ stable – although you’d never know it from the choreography of the fight scenes or their beautiful remastering by Dragon Dynasty (in collaboration with The Weinstein Company). The story follows one fighter in particular (played by the always interesting Lo Lieh) who, after a difficult induction, is given the secrets to his master’s “Iron Palm” technique in order to defend his school. In a world where every master has his own gimmick, this technique, and the glowing hand that comes with it, is the one that settles all arguments. The technique is brought to life through an audacious and hilarious yet supremely effective “borrowing” of the Ironside theme tune (that Quentin Tarantino himself used in Kill Bill Vol. 1 & Vol. 2) and emerges only infrequently amid some wonderfully choreographed action sequences. The fights are plentiful, varied, imaginative and really quite ferocious given the era in which the movie was made. Eye gouging, flying kicks, and head butts galore are all tied together with balletic blood spatter and crunching sound effects to satisfy any hardened action fan. These are only some of the treats you’re in for when you watch The Five Fingers of Death.