Made in 1972 Hapkido or Lady Kung Fu as it was called in America is one of the best early films starring Angela Mao with co-stars Sammo Hung and Carter Wong and directed by Huang Feng.
Hapkido starts in Korea where the three main stars have a run-in with the occupying Japanese. This means they have to leave the country and go back to China but are given permission to teach the Korean art of Hapkido back home. After opening the school they get into trouble with the local Japanese Black Bear school and things escalate to a point where they must choose life or death.
The leap forward in choreography between this film and earlier efforts such as Lady Whirlwind (also in this package) is astounding. This is from the influence of the Korean kicking arts such as Hapkido which was demonstrated by Hwang In Sik and Chi Hon Hsoi in Hong Kong. (These two are also in the film).
After seeing them demonstrate the art they were asked to help with the new Golden Harvest studio with film work and this was one of the first examples. The film was released in the same year as Fist of Fury and the stories have similar themes running through them. Bruce Lee actually visited the set of Hapkido with Chuck Norris and Bob Wall as he was making Way of the Dragon at the same time.
The action scenes are fast and exciting using the kicking techniques to full effect. the choreography was done by Sammo Hung and Bruce Liang and while not as polished as their later work, still shines, one of the highlights being Angela Mao demolishing a school full of Japanese fighters. You can spot Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao in the background as stunt people and it’s fascinating to see where they learned their craft.
The Blu-ray released by Eureka has a stunning new transfer from a new 2K remaster. It really does look fantastic with bold colours and a very clean image. You have sound options of the original Mandarin language with re-translated English subtitles, or the classic English dubbed options.
Some great extras are also on this release which include –
THIS SET ALSO CONTAINS A 2K REMASTERED VERSION OF LADY WHIRLWIND
- New feature-length audio commentary on both films with Asian film experts Frank Djeng & Michael Worth
- New feature-length audio commentary on both films with Frank Djeng & martial artist/actor Robert Samuels
- Brand new interview with Angela Mao, filmed in 2022
- Hapkido – Alternate opening credits
- Archival interview with Angela Mao, Carter Wong, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao
- Vintage behind-the-scenes promo showing master Chi Hon Hsoi teaching Sammo Hung, Angela Mao, Carter Wong, Pai Ying and many others and also receiving the black belts in the art.
- A Limited Edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing by James Oliver [2000 copies]
- Lady Whirlwind – New feature-length audio commentary by film journalist and author Samm Deighan
- Selection of trailers and TV spots
A fantastic release with both films getting superb remasters as well as great extras.
Note – This exact same set (different cover art) is getting a Blu-ray release in the USA from Arrow Video...click here…