Thursday, March 20, 2014

Shao Lin Men 1976 The Hand of Death

The Hand of Death AKA Shao Lin men
(1976)
film review by Wmpyr

I was surprised to see that this film features a very young Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan as supporting cast. The main character is played by Dorian Tan who is known for his amazing kicking skills and we get to see a lot of it especially for the final fight. The story has a lot of politics involved, basically Shaolin supporters have been reduced to guerrilla type fighters and they are trying to get revenge by assassinating the Manchu traitor who is a superb fighter surrounded by many competent guards lead by Sammo Hung who is basically a goon leader. Dorian infiltrates the village that is taken over by the traitor and basically fails at his first assassination attempt, briefly becomes a prisoner, blacksmith Jackie Chan rescues him, then they recruit more people including a sword master, complete with a brief obligatory training sequence, and then take on the traitor for the final epic battle where many of them die. It's kind of a Seven Samurai story in a smaller scale, where they need to recruit fighters to face the bad guys. Not my favorite film of this kind of story, but I have to say that it felt solid, no real negatives here, but the overall experience for me was that this was ok. It was probably really quite solid for back in it's day, I just personally prefer more craziness. Even though I can't say anything bad about it, I'm probably going to forget this one despite a stellar cast, solid production and story. Don't get me wrong I would recommend it, but for my peculiar tastes it was a little lacking in memorable stuff.

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