The Tigress Of Shaolin (HK 1979)

Rating: *(*)
Review Date: 6/26/11
Cast: Liu Chia Yung, Wei Ying Hung

A really terrible and tiresome kung fu comedy with neither a tigress or Shaolin in it. The optional two-star rating is merely for the production values and the quality of the fight scenes. The plot is paper thin and merely exists as a vehicle for moving between gags and fight scenes. Liu Chia Yung is a kind-hearted young man with a knack for getting into trouble. He ends up making enemies with some high ranking Tibetan officials, and they spend the entire film trying to kill him. Meanwhile, Yung wants to avenge the deaths of his friends and learns eight-diagram pole fighting along with leper's fist. That's right - the film's biggest hook is leprosy boxing, which it proudly announces in the trailer. The final thirty minutes involve going to Leper Valley to learn leper's fist, then practicing it on the beach, and finally going through all of the katas again to defeat the villains. But his victory is hollow, as the price for using leper's fist is that you go crazy. The end. Huh?

Apart from some decent martial arts brawls, the film is nearly unbearable to watch. The humor is awful, the characters are ridiculous, and several of the action scenes are accompanied by circus music and disco (they even parody "Grease" at one point). Liu Chia Yung is a great athlete and his martial arts prowess is excellent. The always lovely Wei Ying Hung shows up in an extended cameo and her 2-3 brief fight scenes are enchanting. While the choreography, execution, and cinematography are very good, several scenes are unfortunately spoiled by excessive undercranking. Unless you're a die-hard fan of the genre or any of the players, it's best to leave this one on the shelf.