King Boxer review by Drunky

Wise man once say you have to like kung fu movies in order to like kung fu movies.

I wouldnt consider myself a kung fu fan, nor much of a DVD collector, but somehow Ive managed to accumulate most of Bruce Lees films and quite a bit of Jackie Chans early work. I blame the dorky voices in my head. My attempts to suppress them with self-medication have thus far been unsuccessful. Next I think Ill try pointy objects.

Generally I like my kung fu served with light seasoning: funny, whimsical, or maybe even a bit silly. They compliment each other well. Jackie Chan knew this. When kung fu movies try and go serious, I have a hard time stomaching it. I dont know if it is the unfamiliar body language used by Chinese actors, the dubbed voices, or the unrealistic jumps but a serious vibe just doesnt fly.

King Boxer goes serious. Plenty of drama and some violent gore. The plot is your standard kung fu fare: student is good at kung fu but not great, childhood teacher sends him to train with a greater master to beat bad dudes at upcoming tournament, bad dudes do bad stuff throughout, student gets into various fights, and theres a girl interest.

I am told that King Boxer (formerly known as Five Fingers of Death) is a kung fu classic. The one that started it all is one phrase used. Im inclined to believe them. Mainly because if you are familiar with the Kill Bill movies, you will see in those films quite a bit of homage paid to King Boxer (e.g. the music and the spraying blood).

King Boxer is solid. I start to tune out some of the cheesy drama, but its got all the essentials for good kung fu: good fight choreography and interesting characters with a little depth to them. And I dont know what digital remastering entails but I will say that this DVD looks fantastic for a Chinese flick from 1972. And of course the voice-overs are done by the same familiar group of guys who somehow seem to get the job for every kung fu flick Ive ever seen. This can really jam you up if the guy doing the voice for the hero in a flick youve seen plenty of times gets the voice role of bad guy in another flick. Hey thats a good guy voice! youll say out loud, or at least as well as you can say it with a mouth full of animal crackers.

I am contractually obligated to tell you about the DVD features. Damn the man. This is a brand new release by the way. There are some interviews with the directors and some kung fu film scholars that I surprisingly enjoyed. And get this - they actually got Quentin Tarantino to do full-feature commentary. The only thing more impressive than that will be if you can actually listen to Tarantino talk for 90 minutes without getting any ear blood on your couch.


6 out of 10 Jackasses
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