Buddhist Fist

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Average Rating: 3.7/5

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Prolific Hong Kong filmmaker Yuen Woo-ping directed this enjoyable martial arts film about an inept barber named Shang (Yuen Shun-yee) who loses his job and begins traveling across the country to visit his father. When he gets home, Shang can't find his father but runs into a childhood friend, Si-ming (Tsui Siu-ming), who was taught martial arts by the same Shaolin master as himself, but became a monk instead of finding secular work. Si-ming is in danger of being disgraced, however, because he got drunk one night and was framed for the rape and murder of a young woman, and is now being blackmailed into committing crimes by a mysterious figure to preserve his secrets. Shang is soon caught in a dilemma when he finds out that the man blackmailing Si-ming is part of a plot to rob China's national treasures (a plan discovered by Shang's father), as is Si-ming himself. When Shang is targeted for assassination, he must choose between protecting his friend and exposing the plot. The story line isn't particularly fresh, but the success of most Hong Kong action films from this period rests on their fight scenes, and it is in this area that The Buddhist Fist is at its most entertaining, with lightning-fast kung-fu moves choreographed by the Yuen clan and skillfully executed by a cast including Lee Hoi-sang, Simon Yuen, Yuen Cheung-yan, and Fan Mui-sang. Yuen Woo-ping remained active in the Hong Kong action genre for decades, both as a director and a supporting actor in dozens of similar films.


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