Throughout the 70s Kung-Fu genre was quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the action genre. While a mostly male dominated genre, Angela Mao Ying stood out bringing her own brand of justice to many classic films cementing her place in history as a martial arts film icon. Now Shout Factory is bringing some of her classic films to DVD with an all-new martial arts double feature including Lady Whirlwind and Hapkido.
Lady Whirlwind follows a woman who seeks revenge on the man, who abandoned her pregnant, causing her to take her own life. We she finds him she learns that he is on a mission to take down the leader of the gambling and opium syndicate and agrees to help him but she still plans to take her revenge when they are finished. Much like all the martial arts movies of this time the story is all over the place, but somehow always finds its way back to where it was planning. There are moments that the characters make decisions that make no sense, but you can let that go since you are really just there for the action. There are plenty of great fight scenes that are entertaining to watch, but not always all that well executed. It is really amazing that visually you can see how far apart they are from striking people at times, but the classic sound effects add that other sensory element that makes you ignore your senses and by into the action. While this may be a Mao Ying film, it is pretty cool to get to see a very young Sammo Hung in action both against her and others in the film that makes this a must see by any hardcore fan.
Hapkido follows three students who are expelled from Korea and move back to China to start up a martial-arts school, but a rival Japanese martial-arts club will do all they can to crush any competing club that opens in their area. Much like Lady Whirlwind this story is sometimes all over the place, but a lot more streamlined. The story is similar to Fist of Fury, released as The Chinese Connection in the US right down to the Chinese vs Japanese school showdown. Once again there is plenty of action, but this time out it is way better executed and more entertaining to watch. Once again Sammo Hung steps up beside Mao Ying and both deliver some great fight sequences. Along the journey with them is Carter Wong who is most recognizable to Us fans as the element warrior the explodes in Big Trouble in Little China who delivers some great action of his own. This is the better film of the two and to add to it be on the lookout for cameos from Biao Yuen, Corey Yuen, and Jackie Chan.
Both of these classic martial arts films are a lot of fun bringing everything that made the genre great. Despite both being from 1972 they sport a beautiful transfer that is probably the clearest you could have seen them since their release. If you are a fan of classic martial arts cinema then this is a must own collection.
For more information head over to www.shoutfactory.com