The Chinese Mack (HK 1974)

Rating: **
Review Date: 1/23/23
Cast: Chan Wai Man, Pai Ying

Chan Wai Man is a humble servant who is constantly bullied by his master's sons. He's also an excellent kung fu student, and when he saves his master's daughter from a group of thugs, the master gives him permission to marry her. But first, he must go to the city and earn a living. Unfortunately, his naïveté, good nature, and sense of justice get him into trouble, and he single-handedly wipes out an entire mob of bad guys. This sets him up to be the new boss in town, and he's soon corrupted by sex, money, and power. More bad guys eventually show up (including a Caucasian boxer who looks like a reject from "Mortal Kombat"), which just reinforces how far he has strayed from the path of righteousness. Then some minor supporting character shows up to beat the shit out of him, and only wins because he's wearing an iron jockstrap to protect his balls. Huh?

Not surprisingly, the film is just a tedious and pointless excuse to have Chan Wai Man show off his skills as well as his bare chest. He is super lean and sinewy, and it doesn't look like there's an ounce of fat on him. The martial arts world was still looking for a replacement for Bruce Lee, and he was definitely a contender with his fast moves, precision strikes, and hard-hitting intensity. Unfortunately, he never quite made it to superstar status, and was often relegated to playing villains and supporting roles. The fighting is plentiful and quite good, although the copy I saw was a pan-and-scan nightmare where half of the time the characters weren't even onscreen. The film also contains some unpleasant and unnecessary animal cruelty, which keeps the film from having a larger potential audience. For kung fu enthusiasts only.