Shaolin Kung Fu Mystagogue (HK 1976)

Rating: *
Review Date: 3/21/04
Cast: Carter Wong, Hsu Feng, Chang Yi, Philip Ko

"It is better to die and die well, than it is to live a vain and pointless life." Not even the tragically beautiful Hsu Feng can save this vain and pointless kung fu disaster. The nasty Chings are at it again, and the rebel Ming prince is running for his life. Hsu Feng is one of his loyal bodyguards, and her brother Carter Wong is studying kung fu at Shaolin Temple. Word gets to the Ching governor that Shaolin is harboring rebels, so he decides to crash their party. The stately Chang Yi shows up as a hardcore villain, and he wields the deadly "bloody birds," which are a pair of triple-bladed boomerangs. The kung fu is mediocre, but the editing and continuity are atrocious. The film also suffers from the injustice of pan-and-scan, so a lot of the fighting is lost offscreen. Lots of kung fu goofiness is thrown in as well, including a ridiculous trap room in the governor's palace, and numerous silly traps in Shaolin Temple as well. The most absurd weapon in the film is a saw blade with a candle attached to it. Huh?!? Disappointing.