I Saw A Film!
Rebels are using a Shaolin temple as a cover for their activities where a powerful enforcer is sent to bring down the temple. It’s not clear immediately that the enforcer, a wispy white-haired kung-fu master is a eunuch and can trap groin kicks between his legs and drag opponents over the earth before he breaks their legs. When this battle tactic is first revealed it just looks like the most hilarious idea you’ve seen in next-level death-match secret moves. There are several sequences where opponents are moving their hands around the evil enforcer’s crotch looking for his genitals, “Can’t find it?” he then laughs evilly. Well that is great fun, but it gets better.
Soon the rebels must flee and after swearing their revenge they spend their time as a traveling group of kung-fu acrobats on red boats going from town to town to show off their skills for meager support. They immediately encounter a rival travelling father and daughter kung-fu show. Another dance-fight breaks out which shows off the lass’s very effective crane style! The performers decide to team up and our hero attempts over and over to spread the lass’s legs with his kung-fu. She smilingly keeps her knees locked shut with her powerful crane style. They seem at a romantic impasse. These sequences are as downright hootingly funny as they sound. Eventually Brother Hung cracks the young lady’s technique (she’s not happy and complains that he cheated) and soon a son is born! It’s a little like drawing the sword from the stone, but in reverse.
First the father returns to fight the killer enforcer with his tiger style. But he fails. These fights are, of course, all lock-step poses and sound effects, and leave much to be desired in terms of what a fight is, but we grew up loving these movies! Eventually the son grows and has merged his mom’s crane and his father’s tiger styles. I suppose there’s a kind of lesson in the maintenance of pure style, when the styles reproduce they invent a new hybrid style that’s perhaps better than the originals! Hilariously, the film ends abruptly in the middle of the climactic fight with the evil eunoch!
This is running free on Prime in USA and is one of the more beautifully filmed, but strange kung-fu flicks from the era. I did not notice that the young fellow was dressed as a girl (though I did notice his hair ribbons, I just assumed it was an old cultural fashion). Enjoy!