Hapkido | aka Lady Kung Fu (1972) Review

"Hapkido" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Hapkido" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: Huang Feng
Writer: Hoh Yan
Producer: Raymond Chow
Cast: Angela Mao, Sammo Hung, Carter Wong, Wang In Sik, Pai Ying, Teruo Yamane, Nancy Sit Kar Yin, Bruce Leung Siu Lung, Paul Wei Ping Ao, Gam Dai, Ji Han Jae, Suen Lam, Jackie Chan, Lam Ching Ying, Yen Shi Kwan, Yuen Wah
Running Time: 92 min.

By Lawgiver

You don’t get much more old school than this one. Tons of fights, with tons of people. The plot is basically good Chinese against bad Japanese (and bad disloyal Chinese). The trouble starts when Samo’s hotheaded character goes after a couple of drunk, lecherous Japanese guys in a restaurant (when will people in China learn not to eat out; it’s too dangerous). Sure, Samo wins the fight, but the Japanese belong to the Black Bear School, and it isn’t long before it’s school versus school. The most memorable scene in the movie to me takes place in a market; the fight is pretty standard, but there is a scene where boiling water is poured on a poor defenseless woman (mean stuff).

“Hapkido” is Carter Wong’s first film, and as usual, he is a lot of fun. Old Stone-Face Wong hadn’t learned his patented three facial emotions yet (mad, angry, and angry/sad). But even though he’s not much of an actor, I always get a kick out of any movie he’s in.

It is also one of the first starring roles for Samo Hung. It’s weird to see Samo so young and not that fat. One wonders what kind of star Samo might have become if he wasn’t known for his girth, but it is his very fat that makes his fighting so interesting to see on the screen.

Jackie Chan supposedly has a cameo somewhere in the film, the problem is there are a number of fights where one person stands in the middle as hundreds circle and attack one by one. I take people’s word that Chan is in the film, but I’ve never actually caught a glimpse of him (not that I’ve really looked that hard).

But the film isn’t alternately called “Lady Kung Fu” for nothing. Angela Mao is amazing. Unlike a lot of actresses in ’70s movies who fight with a dancey, soft, woman-like style, Angela Mao really looks like she could take your head off.

A lot of fun. Hell, even the opening credits are cool.

Lawgiver’s Rating: 8/10

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