THE CHALLENGER offers kung fu fans a chance to see what a number of Shaw Brothers stars were up to when working away from the studio. David Chiang had come to the end of his contract and was now working in all kinds of assorted productions while the rest, including Ni Kuang, were busy moonlighting. This film was directed by future comedy star Eric Tsang, who has a small cameo, but is more notable for featuring Chiang and Norman Chu as a mismatched duo. The former is the typical capitalist character you find in these movies, always out to make a quick buck or two, while Chu is on a mission of revenge, the reason for which is revealed thanks to a lengthy melodramatic flashback. The film offers a mix of generally only mildly amusing comedy, sometimes lame, with Mars bagging possibly the funniest role as a goofy henchman. However, the action is plentiful and enjoyable; not top tier, but certainly a lot of fun anyway. Lily Li has an interestingly developed role and the big bad is played by none other than Phillip Ko at his physical peak. The lengthy two-on-one climax is great stuff and reminded me of the ending of THE RAID as it's something of a similar endurance test.