The Lost Kung Fu Secrets (Taiwan 1980)

Rating: **
Review Date: 7/14/19
Cast: David Chiang, Hsu Feng

A military commander is betrayed by one of his top officers, and David Chiang is ordered to protect the commander's lovely daughter (Hsu Feng). The two of them escape and spend the rest of the film on the run and under constant attack by the bad guys. The final fight leaves Chiang seriously wounded, and the film ends on a hilariously confounding freeze frame as he collapses in front of a frightened Hsu Feng. There's no resolution or closure at all, and we don't learn what happened to anyone.

The title is a misnomer, as there are no kung fu secrets in the film, either lost or found. The Taiwanese locations are gorgeous, the bold music score is excellent, and the fight choreography is quite good. Unfortunately, the execution tends to be slow and stiff, and the exaggerated Foley work is outrageous. Horses running through mud continue to make typical "clip-clop" sounds, wooden weapons make metallic clangs, and every move - no matter how small or slow - is accompanied by a loud swoosh or clash. It's distracting and nothing short of ridiculous. The film also features a flag fight, which is arguably the least effective martial arts weapon, ever. Hsu Feng is stunning and her fight scenes are very enjoyable. My only criticism would be that her eyeliner is just a tad too thick, which is rather hypocritical coming from me. It's not a great kung fu movie by any means, but fans of David Chiang and Hsu Feng should find it somewhat entertaining.