New Shaolin Boxers (1976) – Review

Original Cinema Poster

By 1976 Fu Sheng was one of the Shaw Brothers Studio’s biggest stars after a string of hits for director Chang Cheh including Shaolin Temple, Marco Polo and Disciples of Shaolin.

The title New Shaolin Boxers is deceptive because the film has nothing to do with Shaolin at all but instead highlights the Kung Fu style of Choy Li Fut, a southern Chinese style known for its powerful long arm techniques. Fu Sheng spent a few months studying with a real life Choy Li Fut master to make the style seems as authentic as possible on screen.

The story is about a young man who cannot stand to see injustice in his village and upon saving a young lady from a rapist makes enemies with the local gang headed by Wang Lung Wei. After one too many battles with them and being banished from his kung fu school for starting trouble, he is sent away to learn the art of Choy Li Fut. Upon returning to his village and finding out his master was brutally killed by the gang he sets out for revenge but at what cost?

While the story is very familiar to anyone who has watched kung fu movies over the years the performance from Fu Sheng brings it way above the normal, with a great screen charisma and excellent fighting skills, his kicking techniques seem very strong in this film, you cannot help but go along with his quest for justice. The first half of the film does seem to plod along at times, from one fight to another, but when it gets to his training and revenge section it picks up a lot with a suitably violent and gory climax.

Co starring with him are as mentioned, super villain Wang Lung Wei as menacing as ever and aided by Leung Kar Yan in one of his many villainous roles for the Shaw Studio. While not the best the star and director has to offer it is still a superior kung fu movie and well worth checking out.

The film has been released on region 3 DVD in Hong Kong with a nice remastered print but is now out of print. Also a gorgeous region B Blu ray edition is available from Germany which has a great HD image and English subtitles.

FILM – 7.5 OUT OF 10


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