14 September 2010 | Falconeer
Classic kung fu drama
The incomparable Alexander fu Sheng is featured in this adult drama concerning honor and loyalty, and painful lessons. Fu Sheng turns in a great performance as Chien Chung, the coach driver who cannot resist defending the people of his small village when they are attacked by the local gangs. Strangely, the people he helps are ungrateful, and he gets labeled as a 'troublemaker," and as a bad guy. After a nasty conflict arises with a ruthless gang boss, he is sent away to a remote mountain, where he can possibly find his way out of a violent mindset. On this mountain Chien is instructed in a rare kung fu technique, and he returns home with a new strength, which it turns out he will need; in his absence the gang has terrorized his family and neighbors, and murdered the man he is most loyal to. Chang Cheh's serious drama features surprising character development and involves the viewer in the dramatic elements of the story, which is rare for this genre of film. Fu Sheng creates through his performance, a character that we can genuinely like; to the point that when a tragedy befalls him, the audience feels it. I was actually a bit choked up at the films tragic conclusion! The fight sequences are fine, as expected; greatly executed but not as flashy as is typical for a Cheh film. And without the lavish period costumes (this is a more contemporary story) "New Shaolin Boxers" becomes more realistic and easier to relate to. The way in which he protects his childhood friend from being sold into prostitution, at the risk of his own life, makes Fu Sheng's character a classic noble hero. While not the best kung fu action epic ever, "Shaolin Boxer" remains one of the finest performances of the great Alexander Fu Sheng, and is a timeless piece of filmmaking as well. It should be shown to people who think that this genre of film can't be serious drama as well as just fight scenes.