Movie Review: Shaolin Kingboxer (Tie quan) – 1979 – directed by Karl Maka

Posted: April 11, 2020 in Martial Arts
Tags: , , , , , ,

sholion

I approached Shaolin Kingboxer with the desire to watch an incredibly bad kung-fu flick mainly because of the incredibly bad blurb on the back of the dvd box. the spelling mistakes and the sheer lack of information really made me feel that what I was going to watch was a bottom of the barrel, laughably bad martial arts film. sadly what I got was something that wasn’t actually that bad but not particularly good either.

Essentially a remake of the Serio Leone Western ‘For A few Dollars more’, the film follows a man seeking revenge who teams up with an unlikely bandit on his quest to track down the person that murdered his family.

the story isn’t original and serves merely as a way to craft a tale that can take us from one fight to the next. The fight sequences are the typical kind that you have seen time and time again in 70’s kung fu films and none of it really stands out as being something special apart from the final fight. Much like a lot of films of this sort, the stakes raise as the protagonist’s progress through the film until they reach the final ‘boss’ and then spend 20 odd minutes fighting. This is the main saving grace for Shaolin Kingboxer. the final fight is awesome and features some great choreography (and a little silliness with a character rolling across the floor with swords.) It is gripping and is a great too and fro battle which you can’t take your eyes off. whereas the other fights in the film tend to be one vs one, this battle has multiple combatants each with different fighting styles. I’d argue it might be worth sitting through the film just for this final fight.

The version I watched was dubbed and even that was disappointing in the fact it wasn’t that bad. (I never thought I’d be complaining that a film wasn’t bad). there are some odd choices of the voiceovers but none that actually rival anything on a Godfrey Ho level of bad.

All in all it isn’t a bad film. I might have enjoyed it more if I had gone into it expecting something different but the terrible dvd case tricked me. It may not be the best, but the final fight is pretty standout and stands up there with some of the best 70’s kung fu fight sequences in my view. It’s a bity silly and Hokey but it does work.

All in all if I gave it a score out of 10 I would probably put it a 5 or 6 (if I had known what i was going to be watching (mostly for the ending) but with the perceptions I went in with I would probably put the film at a 3. (it’s amazing how preconceptions can completely change how you view and enjoy a film.)

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