FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH (King Boxer)
Directed by Chung Chang-wha
40th anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award screening
Chinese kung fu films had been produced as early as the 1905 Ding Jun Mountain, but it wasn’t until March 21, 1973 that mainstream America got a proper taste with Chung Chang-wha’s Shaw Brothers extravaganza FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH (aka King Boxer).
Chao Chi-hao (Lo Lieh) is trained in kung fu in order to defeat corrupt master Ming’s students at a martial arts tournament. Ming hires malicious Japanese samurai mercenaries and the horrific head-butter Chen (Kim Kee-joo) to do dastardly deeds, one being to break Chao’s hands and spirit. Broken and bloodied, Chao goes into hiding, heals, learns the secret Iron Palm skill, and then enters the tournament. During the tournament’s ado, nobody sees Ming assassinate Chao’s master. After Chao learns the truth, it’s time to battle Ming and the Japanese using his Five Fingers of Death. But who will really die?
Try watching this film like it was 1973, when most of us were clueless as to what this “fresh” genre was all about, and were blown away to discover a film that was like an American Western where feet, fists, and swords replaced guns. It’s got glowing red hands, iron palm kung fu, death strikes, and audio shticks from the NBC-TV show Ironside. It was far out to learn that iron palm was real and you could learn it too if you dared. Now that’s cool, man. –Craig Reid
Sponsored by Vivalachi Alternative Health and Wellness Services
Co-presented by: Three Treasures Cultural Arts Society
Cast: Lo Lieh, Kim Kee-joo, Chan Chuen, Chan Shen, Tien Fung, Bolo Yeung