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Mantis Fist & Tiger Claws Of Shaolin (1977)

Mantis Fist & Tiger Claws Of Shaolin (1977)

Here's a martial arts movie from the eighties most people have probably never heard of.

Like all movies of this time it's easy to see the moves follow a script, they're not very fluent, and the story starts out as is tradition with movies this. I watched Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu recently, of which the beginning felt like a parody on old Kung Fu movies (<-- a nice kick of nostalgia in that one). It starts there just like it does in this movie - in a restaurant, the owner being humble, a gang harassing the waitress, a hero stepping up and kicking their butts. Typical. The fighting is all staged and the hits never (or rarely, some looked pretty real) really touch... and the filmography is the real stereotype. Zooming in and out on the faces of 'contestants', stunt men theatrically falling over tables, or being kicked back, or staggering with their arms flailing. Good comic value, but not that much realism. Despite all this (and the fact that I watched it on a old low-quality hard-subbed VHS) it was a good movie. The main actors are all talented martial artists and you get to see some really nice stunts, knife tricks, spear play & thoroughly study the fighting styles of the Tiger Claw & Mantis Fist, along with a few other 'regular' combos. The blood actually looks pretty realistic in comparison to virtually all martial art movies of this time, which is a definite plus... and many props to the creative storyline. It starts of as any martial arts movie, but I bet you can't predict how it turns out after that. It's not an incredibly fast-paced action movie, but if you're a fan of martial arts it's a must-see anyway. This should be a cult classic, but seeing as there are no famous actors in it I suppose it slipped under the radar. I'll give it a... [rated3]

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