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Hapkido
cast: Angela Mao, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Carter Wong, and Whang Ing-sik

director: Feng Huang

93 minutes (15) 1972
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Hong Kong Legends DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by J.C. Hartley
Difficult to track down in usual searches as original title of He Qi Dao became Lady Kung Fu ("here comes the unbreakable china doll who gives you the licking of your life!"). Wonder how many sad souls went to see it on the basis of that misleading tagline?

Two Chinese brothers Sammo Hung (Around The World In 80 Days), Carter Wong (Big Trouble In Little China) and their lovely sister Ying, (Angela Mao, Enter The Dragon), study the art of Hap Ki Do in Japanese-occupied Korea in 1934. On graduation their master explains that he is raising an underground martial arts army to fight the occupation, but insists that they practice forbearance in all their dealings.

On return to China the three siblings open their own martial arts school and pay courtesy calls on other schools in the town. Before a visit can be made to the Japanese-run Black Bear School, Sammo has got into a fight with two of its students and things go downhill from there. Trying to make amends, Carter Wong is forced to take on the entire Black Bear School and has one of his arms crippled, and Sammo kills three Black Bear students while protecting some market traders who are being abused. When Sammo is discovered in hiding and murdered, Ying writes to their old Korean teacher for help and meanwhile takes on the Black Bear School herself. Head brother Cheng (Whang Ing-sik, Game Of Death) arrives from Korea to say that the uprising has failed; too late to save the life of her crippled brother who is murdered in the street, Ying and Cheng go to the Black Bear School for revenge.

The storyline with its anti-Japanese message is basically a scaffold for increasingly bloody one-versus-many martial arts bouts. Some of the fighting is of the I'll strike a pose 'till the hero hits me school, until Whang Ing-sik, who usually plays a villain, arrives to show how it's done. This film is sometimes cited as a Jackie Chan feature but don't be fooled, he's here somewhere, but I didn't spot him. The best thing about this movie is Angela Mao, who looks great and can actually act.

The DVD extras include promos, trailers, and an exposition of Hap Ki Do by Tammy Parlour, a 4th Dan black belt, and an interview with her at the school she runs in London.
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