The Boxer From the Temple (1980)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Martial Arts  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Boxer From The Temple might look like the average kung-fu programmer but it has got a few tricks up its sleeve. For one thing, the story's unusually ambitious for a kung-fu comedy: Ni Kuang's script spends a lot of time setting up the main character and showing how he develops from a bumpkin into a man of the people. The film is also unusually handsome looking: director Lo Mar makes excellent use of the Shaw Brothers backlot sets, giving the film a nice sheen of production value that makes it easy on the eyes. However, the biggest surprise that Boxer From The Temple offers is the sudden shift in tone it takes during the film's last half-hour: without getting too specific, it pushes the film's initially lighthearted characters and situations towards more challenging territory in a way that's likely to knock the wind out of viewers comfortable with the freewheeling tone of the film's first hour. Thankfully, Wu Yuan Chan's performance is skillful enough that he can bend his performance to fit the shift in mood (he's also quite impressive in the fight scenes). Director Lo Mar handles the tone shift with equal skill, giving the film the kind of pulpy, energetic pace it requires and capturing the often eye-popping choreography of the fights with plenty of style and directorial brio. In short, Boxer From The Temple is the kind of flick that gives the 'chopsocky' genre a good name and is thus a worthwhile choice for genre fans.