Jimmy Wang Yu’s Kung Fu classic violently announces itself on Blu-ray this month, with all the subtlety of a Victoria Secret fashion show. Eureka Entertainment’s latest release is a little light on extras but makes up for it with a solid transfer of a hugely entertaining film.
Originally released in 1971, the plot is a simple one. After Yu Tien Lung (Jimmy, who also directs) humiliates his rival Kung-Fu school, they hire a team of mercenaries to get revenge, severing Tien Lung’s arm in the process. With the help of an old herbalist and his daughter, he must learn the ‘Crippled Fist’ to exact his revenge. The film stands out for two reasons; the first being the fantastically silly mix of global fighters, hired by the villain. These include Shaolin Lamas, Thai kickboxers, and a Japanese judo expert. Diversity isn’t the name of the game here, with an Indian yoga master played by a Chinese actor brandishing grey face paint, while the delightfully evil Japanese karate supremo has fangs! The second is Wang Yu’s kinetic direction - the title sequence thunders into gear with the music from Shaft and Tien Lung’s recovery is shown via a series of stills.
One Armed Boxer is relentless, with large set-piece fights (especially those with our eclectic fighting practitioners) taking up much of the runtime. This does present the film with its only weakness - the choreography is messy. As mentioned in the commentary by Asian film expert Frank Djeng, they were trying out a more realistic style, but with a film that contains such a rich tapestry of fighting arts, having actors wildly flailing across the screen feels like a missed opportunity. A stills gallery, original trailer, and new vibrant artwork round off the disc. Overall a hugely entertaining piece of cinema to share with friends, while laughing late into the night.