8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER (a.k.a. INVINCIBLE POLE FIGHTER) is, without a doubt, the closest thing Lau Kar Leung has made to a Chang Cheh film. It's more violent than most of Chang's films (an unusual quality for an LKL film), with people getting their teeth yanked out with pole techniques, and skinned with blades mid-battle. It's even got vague themes of brotherhood among the vengeance-centric storyline. Apparently Alexander Fu Sheng's character was originally supposed to be the central character, however his untimely death (which occurred right after he moved into Bruce Lee's old estate, which isn't eerie at all), the movie was re-written to focus on Gordon Liu's character. I'm a big fan of Fu Sheng, however (no disrespect intended) if this movie is a set of drapes, then he is a hungry moth in each scene he appears in. Fu Sheng's performance in this movie is truly awful, I wish I could say it was a great lost performance a la GAME OF DEATH, but it really isn't. I don't consider the word "melodrama" to be a dirty word, especially when talking about films from Hong Kong, but Fu Sheng overacts so hideously in this movie that he devours the scenery until everything else disappears. I can't blame Fu Sheng for this, LKL should've stopped an actor in a medieval setting from imitating machine gun fire when describing the horrors of war. The director is always to blame for a shitty performance, never the actor. Thankfully, the movie is still, overall, an excellent Shaw Bros. film. The action scenes are well done and well choreographed, Gordon Liu is a fantastic leading man as always, playing another version of his headstrong character searching for solutions at the Shaolin temple. The tale of a family searching for redemption is a good one, even if it falls within familiar territory. Even though Fu Sheng's final performance wasn't one to be proud of, the final film is, it's entertaining from start to finish, despite its obvious flaws.