27 June 2009 | InjunNose
My kind of kung-fu film
Featuring a solid cast of Hong Kong film luminaries and fight after brutal, bone-crushing fight, "Stranger from Canton" is the kind of movie I eagerly drank in on Sunday afternoons when I was a kid. Back then, the USA Network ruled basic cable with "Kung Fu Theater"--which aired this film under its international title, "The Karate Killer". Jason Pai Piao is one of my favorite Hong Kong stars; he went on to appear in everything from independent cheapies like Ron Van Clief's Black Dragon films to prestigious Shaw Brothers epics like "Avenging Warriors of Shaolin" and "Killer Constable". Here he plays a dapper hero (watch out for that spotless white ice cream suit!) who catches knives in his teeth and takes bites out of them. The imposing Thompson Kao Kang plays the lead villain, a dangerous fighter who wields his queue--or pigtail--as a weapon. Feng Yi of "Chinese Connection" fame appears as one of Kao Kang's minions, a Japanese swordsman. The fights in this movie are downright visceral; with the aid of the thunderous sound effects so common to mid-'70s kung-fu dramas, you practically feel every punch and kick. There are no wires...just tons of teeth-grinding action. If you enjoy the dark, violent martial arts films of this period, "Stranger from Canton" will be right up your alley.