HK Cinema - 1970
Jimmy Wang Yu who had turned the sword fighting
or wuxia genre on its ear did the same thing with hand to hand combat in
the Chinese Boxer. Wang Yu directed and starred in this film and he made
a kung-fu film unlike any before it. Extremely violent and full of hatred
for the Japanese (a theme that becomes very prominent in kung-fu films),
it was extremely popular. He followed this with The One Armed Boxer – sort
of combining his two big hits.
For a few years Wang Yu was very popular and his
films did quite well. There is no doubt that he was a pioneer in HK action
films, but looking at his films today it is a bit difficult to see why.
He was a very slight fellow, not particularly charismatic and his martial
art abilities do not appear overwhelming. But his themes of determination,
sacrifice and revenge against overwhelming odds caught on with the HK moviegoers.
By the middle of the decade his popularity had
waned and he is now sometimes best known for his triad connections and
– it is rumored helping out Jackie Chan in a very tight spot. As a favor,
Jackie appeared in a film of his - Island of Fire - in 1990.
Chinese Boxer along with Chang Cheh’s Vengeance
put the Shaw Brothers in a position to dominate kung-fu films for years