Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Shaolin Boxers (1976)

due to a slight discrepancy, my planned 100th post will take place later.
this is a movie which features my style of kung fu, Choy Li Fut.  it's a pretty adult affair, directed by the late great Chang Cheh for the famous Shaw Brothers Studios.  it's a lot better movie that Choi Lee Fut, though I like that film a lot also.

the late Fu Sheng stars in this movie, and it begins with a demonstration of various techniques.  this is not unusual for kung fu movies of this time period.  there is also a spoken (in Chinese, Mandarin, I believe) history of the style, which fortunately is written out in both Chinese and English.  it's pretty accurate as well.  we see a lot of fist forms, and some of the various stances.  lacking are the many weapons that we use, but we'll see a few of those in the actual movie.  there's also a lot of training scenes.

the plot of the movie itself involves a gang taking over a town, and the people not standing up for themselves.  in fact, they think our hero is the troublemaker.  he knows some kung fu, enough to beat the henchmen up (poor Beardy, aka Kar Yan Leung really gets smacked around this movie) but not enough to stand up to the main villain.  so off to more training he goes, to learn "the deadliest style of kung fu, Choy Li Fut" though they say it as "tsai li fu" in the movie. those Chinese people have a different word for everything!  in fact, they have more than one different word for the same thing, depending on which dialect you listen to!

I first saw this movie on a multi-gen murky tape under the title "Demon Fists of Kung Fu".  I had been doing CLF for about 2 years, and wasn't quite sure it was the same style, and due to the poor quality of the tape it was hard to tell.  now on a cleaned up letterboxed DVD print it's really easy to see the style at work- low stances, fast Northern style footwork, powerful punches and Southern weapons, it's all there.  I do wish I could make all the cool "whooshing" sounds when I practiced my kung fu, but movies are not quite the same.  Fu Sheng should have been a much bigger star in the rest of the world as well.  highly recommended!

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