15 February 2015 | BA_Harrison
When Mar accidentally kills Fang, it all kicks off.
I'd love to be able to pull off a jaw-dropping martial arts technique with a cool name like the Wu Tang Magic Kick? As a party trick, it would be hard to beat. Mindy's downing a pint of vodka? Who Cares? Todd's juggling terrapins? So what? Brett's doing his Wu Tang Magic Kick!!! Legend status guaranteed!
Of course, the downside of developing such an impressive skill is that a martial arts villain will inevitably seek me out, attacking my nearest and dearest until I agree to take part in a hill-top showdown. That's what happens to kung fu master Mar Tien-Liang (John Liu), whose legendary kicking technique brings him to the attention of evil Fong Kang (Phillip Ko), who causes all manner of bother for the poor guy before challenging him to a duel. Reluctantly, Mar accepts the challenge, but accidentally kills his opponent during the fight, making him a target for Fong Kang's equally evil brother Tu Tang (also played by Phillip Ko) and son Fan Yu-Tang (Wei Tung).
Mar is repeatedly attacked by Tu Tang's men, seriously injured, captured and ultimately driven insane (they seriously rattle his cage—quite literally!). To prevent the bad guys from killing Mar, his poor wife Ling Yu-Han (Bao-yun Tang) agrees to marry Fan Yu-Tang, who very stupidly promises to release her now gibbering wreck of a husband. Spotted drooling in the street by an old friend, Mar is nursed back to sanity and health, and starts training for revenge
Wu Tang Magic Kick quickly establishes its old-school martial arts credentials by having a villain with impressive eyebrows smash a martial arts school's wooden sign; as kung fu films go, this one doesn't exactly rewrite the rules. But even though the clichéd, revenge-driven plot has been done many times over, the excellent fight scenes, impressive camera-work, stunning locations and solid performances make this a hugely entertaining experience. The hard-hitting fight scenes are superbly choreographed, making particularly great use of Liu's spectacular legwork (especially against a horde of pole-wielding henchmen), the drama between the action scenes works well, and the whole thing builds to a superb climax that sees Mar finally unleash his Wu Tang Magic Kick (and it's way, way cooler than juggling terrapins!).
7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for the shameless use of music from other films. In addition to using much of the soundtrack to Hang 'Em High to give Wu Tang Magic Kick an epic Spaghetti Western feel, I'm pretty sure that I heard the theme from The Man With The Golden Gun during the film's more dramatic scenes.