Duel Of The Shaolin Fist (HK 1971?)

Rating: **
Review Date: 3/5/00
Director: Chang Cheh
Cast: Ti Lung, David Chiang

I'm sure "Duel Of The Shaolin Fist" isn't the original title of this film, but I'm not familiar enough with old Shaw Brothers films to make an educated guess. It could be either "Duel Of Fists," "Duel Of The Iron Fists," or "Deadly Duo" for all I know. Regardless, the film has nothing to do with Shaolin Temple or Shaolin kung fu at all. A typically pointless and formulaic kung fu piece starring the popular Ti Lung/David Chiang team. Ti Lung is a passionate and brooding man who gets set up to take the blame for his father's murder. One year later he returns home to find out the truth behind this betrayal and finds that the rest of his family and friends have been similarly set up. And so begins the long and bloody trail of vengeance, which culminates in one of the most ridiculous conclusions I've ever seen. A true case of the filmmakers running out of film at the end of the production, the film closes in the middle of a fight between Lung, Chiang, and a horde of rebels. Standard kung fu fare for the time, but it rises above with Ti Lung's fiery performance and Chang Cheh's liberal use of blood. The fighting, while complex, abundant, and very energetic, looks clumsy and lacks a certain amount of polish and grace. If nothing else, this lends the action scenes a touch of realism.