The Invincible Kung Fu Trio (Taiwan 1978)

Rating: *(*)
Review Date: 5/28/06
Cast: Mang Fei, John Liu, cameo by Angela Mao

A pointless and nearly intolerable kung fu outing that's saved only by its plentiful bounty of fighting. Shaolin fighters Fong Sai Yuk (charismatic Mang Fei), Hung See Kwan, and Liu Kao Chi (leg fighter John Liu) have formed a brotherhood to fight oppressive Ching rule. The emperor persuades the evil Abbot of Wu Tang to hunt down and destroy the brothers using his special butterfly kung fu. That's right, a fighting style based on the untapped savage fury of butterflies. He also uses his black magic to create a trio of doppelgangers to fight the brothers, which gives the filmmakers an opportunity to use some nifty doubles and split screen effects. After several skirmishes with the sinister Abbot, the brothers learn that the only way to defeat him is to combine the kung fu styles of monkey, snake, tiger, and crane. A ram also gets thrown into the mix at some point. While the kung fu is certainly plentiful, the continuity is terrible, the editing is a bit disruptive, and the execution is occasionally lackluster. Angela Mao fans will be disappointed by her cameo appearance and lack of action. The standard awful English dubbing is done by the same five guys that did every Ocean Shores video back in the 80's, and the pan-and-scan butchering obscures a lot of the fight scenes. The dubbing team also goes overboard by including ridiculous animal sounds in the fight scenes, including monkeys, snakes, tigers, cranes, dogs, cows, chickens, sheep, and even a steam locomotive at one point. For genre fans only.