The prospect of a Star Wars movie every year is an …
A homicidal martial artist, a kung fu killer if you will, is on the loose challenging the best fighters in their discipline (boxing, kicking, weapons, etc.) to prove he alone is the greatest fighter on the planet. Hahou Mo, played by the phenomenal martial arts actor Donnie Yen (whose Yuen Wu Ping collaboration, Iron Monkey, is among the greatest in kung fu cinema), is serving a prison sentence for losing his control and killing a man, and just so happens to hold the title of the greatest fighter on the planet. Upon learning of the crimes, he offers his expertise to catch the madman before he kills again.
Welcome to Fistful of Film Fury, Sound on Sight’s new regular column exploring the world of martial arts film (The term world is taken seriously in this case, as shall be demonstrated in the weeks and months to come.). Fighting movies have been one of the most sought-after genres since the 1970s. The expansion of its popularity came in the aforementioned decade and was in large part due to the jaw-dropping output from the Shaw Brothers Studios in its heyday.
One of the strengths of the film is that both men are right and both men are wrong. Lu’s vision of the law stripped of compassion is a law that is also vulnerable to corruption as judges use the letter of the law to line their pockets rather than represent justice. Liu’s belief that he can literally remake himself as a better man ignores the addictive nature of violence. (When Liu begins to fight the robbers, he can’t stop himself from killing them – instead of subduing them – any more than a drunk can have one shot from a bottle and stop there.)