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Invincible Kung Fu Legs

90 minutes
action, comedy, drama

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This entry created 16 December 2020. Last revised on 16 December 2020.

2,098 hits since 16 Dec 2020
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Invincible Kung Fu Legs

This low budget, independent, Taiwan-produced kung fu movie is from the era of highly choreographed fights that were sometimes more like dance moves, with sound effects to convince you that contact was actually made!

The original title of this movie is Nan bei tui wang, and it was released in English-speaking markets as The Leg Fighters and Invicible Kung Fu Legs.

As the movie begins, a narrator explains that in kung fu, the leg is more powerful than the arm, but leg moves are much harder to master. The major characters then take turns performing their signature moves.

Next, we see a confrontation as a villainous-looking character with a thin mustache challenges another fighter to determine who is the best in all of China. Tan Hai-chi (played by Tao-Liang Tan AKA Tarn Daw Liang), the best in North China, says he doesn't fight without reason, but the challenger forces a fight… and when he is defeated, pulls a knife. In the ensuing fracas, the challenger is killed.

The dead man's minions report back to the dead man's brother (who has long white hair), who vows to get revenge… after the funeral.

Next comes a comical scene in which an elderly kung-fu master is training a young princess (Phoenix, played by Kuang-Li Hsia AKA Shiah Guang Lih) and her servant (Chin Pan, played by Chin Lung Shao). The princess is talented but lazy about training, and her servant is a daydreaming incompetent.

Unfortunately, the old kung-fu master is suddenly called back home. The princess' father has arranged for a new trainer, but he has not yet arrived. The princess and her servant walk the old master partway home through the village, but on their return, they run into bullies. The princess rashly challenges the bullies, and we get the first demonstration of her fighting abilities using the leg-kick style of kung fu. A young stranger then comes along, and shows that he is more than a match for the princess.

When the princess and her servant return home, they discover that their new trainer is the young stranger from the village – it is Tan Hai-chi!

The princess and her servant dislike the new trainer, and constantly challenge him. He tells her that her techniques are good, but lack power because she does not train hard enough.

Meanwhile, the princess rashly gets in trouble again stopping another bully in the village – his name is Ding Dong (played by Hsieh Wang). She defeats him, but he comes back with his brother this time (Dong Dong, played by Hung Tsai). They have a unique two-man acrobatic fighting style. The princess is defeated by them and about to be captured, when Tan Hai-chi appears. He offers to rescue her, but only if she will obey him as her kung-fu master. She reluctantly agrees.

Then the dead man's brother enters the village, seeking the kung-fu master. He is mistakenly taken to the old kung-fu master, and they fight. Ding Dong, Dong Dong, and their kung-fu master ally against Tan Hai-chi. This leads to a series of fights and a final confrontation between Tan Hai-chi and his nemesis. The princess, who has now mastered her training, fights alongside Tan Hai-chi.

In the version I saw, the movie ends abruptly at this point. No credits. (I suspect it is out of copyright.)

I thought all of the actors gave good performances, though often exaggerated for comic effect. The fights are interesting by contemporary standards, lots of variety, but are not very 'realistic'.

Can you game it? The plot presents a nice escalation campaign, where enemies accumulate and ally, and an ally matures in fighting ability.

I enjoyed the movie, and recommend it for those who like this genre of kung-fu movie.