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Old 08-03-2010, 12:46 PM   #1
loempiavreter
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Loempiavreter's Shite Reviews

Yes Im doing reviews now... My taste is shite so take a look at all this nonsense. Cinema, TV, Videogames, Graphic Novels anything good. Was already writing the review below for kungfucinema, but I'll post a slightly edited version here it here too:

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Title: The Evil Karate (alt. title: 7 Monsters of Poison)
Genre: Martial Arts (Punch & Block)
Year: 1971
Country of origin: Taiwan
Reviewed print: Flashlegs Rare, DVD

Directed by: Chang Chin Han
Starring: Cheung Ching Ching, O Yau-Man, Chiang Nan, Kon Ching Ha.

Of all the genre's derived from the Chinese martial arts cinema, "punch & block" (or "bashers" in the US) is the most undervalued of all. In the UK "punch & block" movies where often appetizers for the main act; "swordsplay" which the UK scene (and at that time was the biggest western scene) appreciated the most. It was mostly the US scene that appreciated this genre in "Grindhouses" around the country. Late 70s the genre seemed to have made way for the "shapes" genre, the swingy arms (except of Bruce Lee of course) from punch & block movies are now replaced by tight choreographed kung fu shapes.

The Evil Karate is a CLASSIC in the "punch & block" genre and a definite example of why a Punch & Block movie can be just as good as any "shapes" classic, it's also very very rare (no entry on IMDB). Luckily Flashlegs Kung Fu Cinema has brought us a Widescreen print with english subtitles.

The "white haired fox villain" is a popular sort of character in Chinese martial arts cinema (and maybe the most popular sort of character in the scene), made popular by Hwang Jang Lee. In this movie O Yau-Man ( http://www.hkmdb.com/db/people/view....isplay_set=eng ) plays a golden faced fox villain called, King Hades Yen. And he is part of what makes this movie so good he absolutely owns this movie with his bad ass character and incredible fight scenes. He might be a bit on the chubby side, but this bad bro can fight. But I will go deeper on that subject later on.


The big chief himself, King Hades Yen (O Yau-Man)

A good chunk of the pre-new wave Chinese martial arts cinema follow a certain routine to move the plot along; Injustice>Training>Revenge. This movie is no different:
The Devil's Gate gang is led by King Hades Yen, below him are his top subordinates; The 7 Monsters of Poison (I count 9 of them!) each of these characters is basically some sort of comic book villain come to life each with their signature weaponary and skills (as is King Hades).


The 9 members of "The 7 Monsters of Poison"

King Hades Yen tells them to get rid of Lo, who is of possession of jade emblem that can unlock a scroll of a legendary fighting style, Bare Hand Skill. Bare Hand Skill resembles the Japanese art of Karate with it's Karate chops and is probably why this movie is called The Evil Karate. This bare hand skill might prove a nuisance to the Devil's Gate gang so Lo must be killed.


Lo (Shaw Luo Hui) & Chen Sen (Kai Pao Yu)

Lo managed to escape the first assault of the 7 Monsters of Poison, which left his family dead. The heavily wounded Lo is found by a young girl named Chen Sen, who brings him home to her family. BIG MISTAKE, the 7 Monsters of Poison come to finish their job and in the process kill the family and their servants of the young girl. Of course Lo and Chen Sen managed to escape and Lo promises he will take revenge for what the Devil's Gate Gang has done to them. He plans to do this by finding the scroll that teaches the Bare Hands Skill of which he alone can unlock with his jade emblem. And so the 2 begin their travel with the Devil's Gate gang hot on their trail...


Looks like Michael Jackson post-surgery

Not exactly Shakespeare, but this is an old school Chinese martial arts flick and it's got all the ingredients for a hot stew of exploding fist. There are many fight scenes of the Devil's Gate gang against Lo & Chen Sen and the upright heroes that come to defend them (including another fisherman fighter who fights with a fishing rod... again!). A good deal of those are in fast forward, but maybe because of that and the lightning on the set it looks very, surreal. And as stated earlier O Yau-Man is the real deal in this movie, pulling of some cool moves and cheap tricks that fits his evil fox character perfectly. The only fighting style that look dull is the Bare Hand technique itself which consist of small jumpkick and karate chops, but you won't see much of it anyway.


Catching knifes with your mouth like an American Ninja, but this time for real

Choreography-wise, this is an early 70s punch & block movie so it doesn't really have the imaginative choreography of the shapes era, but it's devastating flurry of punches and kicks are definately fun to watch and thanks to the surreal look when fighting it works out perfectly, mix in the amazing fighting skill of O Yau-Man, and this makes one of the better examples of "punch & block".

The pacing is good and moves fast from fight to fight and luckily there is no sight of annoying Chinese comedy. This is just brutal Kung Fu action.

Costume wise, is pretty good for a Taiwanese production. The Devil's Gate gang certainly measures up in looks (especially King Hades Yen) as the top gangs of the HK Shaw Brothers production like The Death Valley gang (Kid With The Golden Arm), The Iron Boat gang and the 13 eagles (The Avenging Eagles), The Chi Sha Society of Killers (To Kill An Evil Mastermind). A neat detail is the some of the characters have a bigger wardrobe then in most movies, which results in some alternative costumes for some characters. The gang lacks in the exotic weaponary department though, going for more "realistic" weaponary.

Set properties are suprisingly lacking painted backgrounds in faked forest in studio sets which where most common in that time and going for real trees and dirt. The locations from Taiwan look quite beatiful (especially the lakes) so a definte top decision to do that. The Devil's Gate gang hideout was the best of the studio sets that appear with special props to the the throne of King Hades Yen.

Conclusion:
Will it attract new blood to the genre? Probably not, the best starting ground for young ´uns. And it´s comic book style might not be in line with everyone´s taste plus the fact that it's quite old. But for genre vets, this is an absolute blast from start to beginning. If you dig evil hearted villains with tight fighting skills stealing the show over the main characters then this is a CLASSIC.

What others have to say:
Linn
Quote:
How classic? I've actually got two copies. One's an original tape, raw. The other is letterboxed, subtitled. I'll be curious to see what the Flashlegs version looks like. One of my fave films by far from the period.
Eagles Claw Champ
Quote:
Now you are talking this is period piece, rough house, bad boy, showpiece classic's for real and I think you are gonna drive us crazy here flashlegs.

I'm looking forward to this one without my eyes closed mate!!!!

For all you youngsters out there dont buy this movie you are not ready for this one its totally oldschool
Chingdog
Quote:
It is a major classic and another movie that is plain fun. It has early apperances by and Tsai Hung, Chang Tao as well. The action is enough to keep people intersted and this movie has alot of strange characters and scenes.
Source: http://www.flkcinema.com/Posts.asp?F...0&Submit=Start

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