Jimmy Wang Yu (director)
24 May 2021 (released)
25 May 2021
Martial Arts meets Grindhouse in this outrageous and action-packed flick from 1971. Jimmy Wang Yu (who also directed) stars as ‘One Armed Boxer’ Yu Tien Lung who takes on a team of ruthless mercenaries after his right arm was severed during a fight to save honour and reputation, not to mention lives.
A friend of martial arts fighter Yu Tien Lung (J. Wang Yu) is cornered in a restaurant by a member of the notorious Hook gang which specialise in local opium dealing and the running of a prostitution ring. The thug demands that Tien Lung’s friend hands over his rare bird which he carries around in a cage – naturally, the man refuses! Not accustomed to taking ‘no’ for an answer some of the gang members pick an argument before starting to beat the c*** out of the hapless bird owner. Luckily Tien Lung is at hand and hurries to the aid of his friend… and within no time a fierce fight breaks out in the eaterie. Tien Lung is a pupil of the respected Ching Te martial arts academy and is in fact their best fighter. Unfortunately the Hook gang members are a bit peeved over the restaurant incident and return to their gang leader Chao Liu (Chao Lau Lu) to report their first defeat in said restaurant and a second defeat which took place later that day in a valley. Humiliated, the Hook gang members lie to Chao by claiming that the Ching Te team attacked them for no apparent reason and claim further that Tien Lung has insulted Chao and showed disrespect. Chao won’t have any of this nonsense and makes his way to the Ching Te academy in order to challenge academy master Hang Tui (Ma Kei) to a fight – however, the Master defeats Chao, thus causing further humiliation to the Hook gang.
Hell-bent on revenge Chao hires some particularly skilled and fearsome mercenary martial arts fighters from Shanghai, consisting of a Judo master, two Muay Thai kick boxers, two Okinawan karate experts, a Korean Taekwondo master, two mystic Tibetan lamas and Indian Yoga expert Mura Singh (Chinese actor Chun Lin Pan with a darkish-brown painted face and a turban… oh please!). Now this motley crew of mercenary fighters turn up at the Ching Te academy to challenge Master Hang Tui and his pupils, cheered on by Chao and other bruised members of the Hook gang. Despite the skills and the agility of the Ching Te pupils they cannot compete against the Shanghai mercenaries and after a brutal bloodbath Tien Lung is left the only survivor although Japanese Judo master Kao has severed Tien’s right arm and left him for dead. Badly wounded, Tien Lung crawls away from the academy and collapses on a country road where he is found by an elderly man and his daughter Jade (Hsin Tang) who happens to be a nurse. The two take Tien Lung into their care and nurse him back to health when the old man – a specialist in ancient medicine - reveals that he possesses a thirty-year old plant from which he can extract an elixir that will strengthen Tien’s remaining left arm to such an extent that he will have the power of two arms and fists combined. However! In order for the elixir to work Tien Lung would need to singe his left arm by placing it into glowing coal fire (those of a squeamish disposition had better closed their eyes during this scene!) so the nerves will be destroyed and he will feel no more pain during future fights. After weeks of recovery and special training Tien Lung is now a one-armed fighting machine ready to take on the Shanghai mercenaries for a final and almighty showdown in the open countryside…
The plot might not be particularly challenging but the martial art sequences are anything but and we are treated to an orgy of almost relentless fighting at breakneck speed (no wirework here). Although brutal and occasionally a little on the gory side ONE ARMED BOXER is not without quirkiness and humour… For example the soundtrack very much resembles 70s Blaxploitation music in the vein of films like SHAFT while the Shanghai mercenary fighters all have their unique traits such as performing some bizarre Tibetan ritual before they attack or the ‘Indian’ Yoga expert circling around his enemy Tien Lung while standing on one hand (hilarious).
Director Jimmy Wang Yu not only stars but was also responsible for the script, proving that hardcore martial arts and quirky humour can go hand in hand!
This relentless Kung-Fu extravaganza is presented fully restored on Blu-ray for the first time and the bonus material includes Limited Edition reversible poster, audio commentary, trailers, stills gallery and collector’s booklet. In Mandarin with English audio options.