12 September 2014 | Wizard-8
Not perfect, but an acceptable example of the genre
I first saw "When Taekwondo Strikes" over twenty years ago via a panned and scanned (and dubbed) VHS copy, and at the time I didn't think too much of it. But recently I got the opportunity to see it again this time with an anamorphic widescreen DVD edition that had the original Mandarin track and English subtitles. This better edition may explain why my feelings about the movie improved. Certainly, the movie is not perfect. It has some of the clichés associated with old school kung fu movies (chortling villains, exaggerated sound effects, etc.) There's not a terrible amount of plot, which results in some lengthy slow spots. And the Japanese villains could have been made into stronger opponents instead of being shown to be (mostly) hopeless. On the other hand, despite the largely one-sided fights, the martial arts scenes aren't too bad, having excitement and coming across as fairly believable. Angela Mao makes for a charismatic protagonist, and there's fun seeing a pre- fame Sammo Hung as one of the villains. I'm generally not a fan of old school Hong Kong marital arts movies, but I have to admit that this one was, despite its flaws, definitely above average.