The Invincible Fist (HK 1969)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/3/08
Director: Chang Cheh
Action Choreography: Liu Chia Liang (Lau Kar Leung)
Cast: Lo Lieh, David Chiang, Li Ching

Lo Lieh stars as a no-nonsense bounty hunter on the trail of four criminals who robbed and murdered a family. He and his brother (David Chiang) pick off the first three fairly quickly, but then the plot shifts gears and becomes a love story in the final reel as Lo falls for the daughter of his enemy (Li Ching). But that's really the only story element the film has, since everything else is just fighting. The film is well made and features some wonderful cinematography, along with some excellent rain sequences. Director Chang Cheh throws in his signature bloodletting with satisfying results, as well as some crazy kung fu including deadly watermelon seeds and a fatal abacus. Liu Chia Liang provides the action choreography, which is a mixed bag. Definitely good for the time, but not nearly as clean, precise, and hard hitting as his later films would be. The acting is decent, and Lo Lieh's intense brooding is delightful. While the romantic sub-plot cranks up the dramatic tension, it also brings the movie to a complete halt which it never recovers from. That said, the film's climax is a severe letdown. Good fun for fans of classic kung fu, but otherwise a bit tedious and tepid.