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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Decent starring vehicle for Tony Liu (Liu Yung), who had portrayed the son of the title villain in Bruce Lee's "The Big Boss" a few years earlier. He's a likable, convincing hero, the numerous hand-to-hand fights are well choreographed and there's some nice South Korean location shooting, but "The Manchu Boxer" plods along without making any particular impression. The revenge theme is one that the viewer will have encountered all too often in martial arts movies, and the villains--a surly brother-sister duo--are caricatures whose loutish behavior appears to have no first cause. Wilson Tong and Sammo Hung play Japanese hired henchmen of the villains, and director Wu Ma sneaks in a cameo as Liu's opponent in the opening scene of the film. Intriguingly, the scratchy English-dubbed print of "The Manchu Boxer" (available on a budget DVD as "Masters of Martial Arts: Bonecrushers") darkens the scene in which Liu puts the evil sister to death; the film's U.S. distributor, Independent-International, evidently considered this shot too upsetting for drive-in audiences. Five and a half stars.
  • If the lack of information and reviews on IMDb is any indication, not many people have seen "The Manchu Boxer", despite it coming from Golden Harvest, the most well-known of the kung fu studios.

    Shot in South Korea, the film did not make much of a peep when it came out, which helped Al Adamson's Independent-International Pictures affordably pick up the film for North American distribution under the title "Masters of Martial Arts". While there are no big stars in it, Sammo Hung, working primarily as the action director, also has a small role.

    Unfortunately for the Shout! Factory release, "The Manchu Boxer" suffers from a lot of scratches, something which the English print ("Masters of Martial Arts") does not. Clearly when they decided to release it as an inexpensive four pack the goal was to be affordable rather than invest in tracking down and cleaning up an old print. This is probably forgivable -- better to get the film out to the masses than to sell only a handful of copies at a much higher cost.

    Hong Kong Film Net sums up the picture by saying, "The fights here really aren't anything special -- they're certainly not worth wading through the plodding exposition scenes to get to them."