This article was last modified on May 10, 2014.


Shout! Factory Presents Martial Arts Films of 1972, 1974-1975

In 2014, Shout! Factory takes on some lesser-known kung fu flicks… let’s see what they have to offer.

Angela Mao Double Feature

This first pairing of “Lady Whirlwind” and “Hapkido” makes a lot of sense. Besides both starring Angela Mao and Sammo Hung, both films come from Golden Harvest Studios, were released in 1972, and were directed by Huang Feng. It is hard to imagine a double feature that was meant to be together more than these two are.

Hapkido

Many have compared “Hapkido” to “The Chinese Connection”, another Golden Harvest film that had recently been released. Indeed, the plots do bare a striking similarity.

“Hapkido” may be best remembered as an early film of Jackie Chan’s, but good luck finding him. He is not even credited, which comes as no surprise to anyone who bothers to count his screen time. We also get some of the wonderful Carter Wong (“Big Trouble In Little China”).

Lady Whirlwind

“Lady Whirlwind” may be the more enjoyable of the two, particularly for those who are not deeply interested in the kung fu genre. In this one, literally everyone is kung fu fighting. As Aaron Christensen notes, “Mao spends the entirety of the film fighting, whether it be with the Japanese that would interfere with her rightful revenge, with the direct object of her rage, or with her conscience as a young fiancée (Ying Bai) begs mercy for her man.” Who needs a plot when you have flying fists of fury? (The same could be said for many Godzilla films.)

Christensen prefers “Hapkido”, opining that it is the “more dramatically satisfying of the two” and “its fight sequences are also superior”.

Likely based on her starring role in these two, Mao went on to cameo as Bruce Lee’s sister in the international hit “Enter the Dragon”. (As a side note, this makes one wonder if her cameo was viewed differently by different audiences. To Americans, she was probably largely unknown and forgettable. But in her homeland, her role may be more comparable to Janet Leigh in “Psycho”… maybe.)

Martial Arts Movie Marathon

The Skyhawk

starring Sammo Hung, Carter Wong

The Manchu Boxer

Sammo Hung

The Dragon Tamers

director John Woo

Starring Carter Wong

The Association

Didn’t get enough of Angela Mao in her double feature? She returns here, and Carter Wong is with her, too. (After these six films, you should really start to appreciate how hard Mao, Wong and Hung had to work in order to release so many films in such a short time!)

Also try another article under Film Industry
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

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