The Crane Fighter (HK 1979?)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 7/4/00
Director: Raymond Lui
Cast: Raymond Lui, Judy Lee (Chia Ling)

Possibly Judy Lee's finest performance. This is another pointless, by-the-numbers kung fu piece about the evil Chings chasing down and executing fugitive Shaolin monks. One of these monks has a daughter (Judy Lee) who he forbids to learn kung fu, but she does anyway. When forced to defend herself, she attracts the attention of the town chief, and he decides to teach her a lesson by forcing her to marry his idiot son. You see, the son has gone insane from practicing too much kung fu. Hmmm... Anyway, Judy refuses to marry him and instead holds a kung fu contest to determine who she'll marry. A handsome stranger (Raymond Lui?) wins the match, but soon there's more trouble to deal with. The nasty Chings are back and they arrest Judy's father and uncle in hopes of smoking out some more Shaolin monks. Judy and Raymond mount a rescue and just barely escape to a mountain refuge. Thinking that they are safe, Raymond and Judy get married, and another wacky bridal chamber kung fu contest goes down. (we also saw this in "Executioners Of Shaolin" (1976) ) Judy's father finally teaches Raymond how to defeat Judy, but right when he forces her onto the bed and is about to claim his prize, the Chings show up again. Then it's a non-stop fight to the bitter end as everyone gets killed, and Raymond and Judy face off with the nigh invulnerable villain who just happens to have very sensitive feet.

A well made kung fu movie with lots of great old school fighting. Judy Lee looks great and performs some incredible crane style fighting. The story is weak and derivative, but the action scenes are strong enough to hold it together. It also features the typical bad dubbing, and my favorite quote is "Women scare me - especially pretty ones." How true.