Fight For Shaolin Tamo Systique (HK 1977)

Rating: *
Review Date: 11/4/99
Alternate Title: Lady Wu Tang (Xenon re-issue)
Cast: Polly Shang Kwan, cameo by Judy Lee (Chia Ling)

A stupid and needlessly silly kung fu adventure starring plucky Polly Shang Kwan as a girl who wants to learn Shaolin kung fu. Too bad for her, Shaolin Temple doesn't accept female students, but she eventually gets around the system and learns from an old exiled Shaolin monk. Unfortunately, a side effect of learning positive Shaolin kung fu is that she starts turning into a man. Negative kung fu will reverse the process, but her old master has forgotten the techniques. After the old master feigns his death, Shaolin Temple finally accepts Polly as a disciple and burns the dragon into her flesh. Her mission is to retrieve the stolen Tamo technique books from a variety of hoodlums and return them to Shaolin. This becomes quickly tiresome. Since Polly spends most of the film as a man (and a very pretty one at that), it's only natural that the man who stole the negative kung fu book has turned into a woman (and not a very attractive one). I am SO tired of seeing this plot device. "Let's see... this person is very pretty and demure, speaks with a woman's voice, has breasts, and wears lipstick and a lot of feminine eye makeup. But they're wearing a man's shirt, so it must be a man!" There's also another drop dead gorgeous woman who plays a man, but she's only around for a couple of minutes. Darn. Polly eventually apprehends all of the bad guys who stole the kung fu books and heads back to Shaolin Temple where the masters of the various schools are waiting to challenge her. One of these masters is Judy Lee, who has the tiniest of cameos and doesn't get to do any fighting. What a waste. The film ends on a confusing note as the old master dies for real, and all the bad guys decide to go home.

All that the film has going for it is cute and spunky Polly Shang Kwan. Her kung fu is quite good, although most of it is really silly. One of her styles allows her to extend her arms and legs, leading to some extremely ridiculous fights. My favorite quote from her is "They look so strange because they are very evil." Ah, so that explains it... You'll probably want to pass on this one.