Unbeaten 28/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Unbeaten 28

Renegade Shaolin monk-turned-warlord, Yen Chan Ying (Mark Long) has achieved his goal of destroying the Wu Tang school by killing the last pupil in a duel. The pupil's infant son, Shao, has been taken in by family friend, Chen Yung (Jack Long) and has been instructed by his Abbot to train Shao in the martial arts as a last hope to re-build the Wu Tang. For 18 straight years, Shao (The fully-grown version played by Fei Meng) now reaches his fullest potential and is given the task of conquering the obstacles at the Tai Sheng Temple. If successful, Shao will be rewarded with a manual on how to overpower the powerful Yen Chan Ying. Shao, now nicknamed "Tiger" by his half-sister, Lin (Jeannie Chang) begins his quest through the temple. To call this place a unique temple is an understatement! Tiger will have to face strange and unimaginable tasks to complete. Such as a giggling, block of stones and robotic, guards made out of rock! One unusual thing though is that once Tiger fails at passing a level, he's allowed to go back home and learn from his mistakes. I wasn't expecting this to happen, but as with the case with plenty of martial arts films from this era, practice makes perfect. Sure enough, Tiger eventually conquers the temple and gains his chance to set up a showdown with Yen Chan Ying.

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If there's one thing I've learned from Joseph Kuo films, it's that I never plan on getting bored by any of them (As was evidenced in 7 Grand Masters and The Mystery of Chess Boxing) even when things reach the absurd level (Take this particular movie, for instance!) his rhythm of keeping things moving and interesting never seems to fail. Even if some of the kung fu fighting that takes place inside the temple isn't as jawdropping as the finale, the set pieces and costumes (I just love those rock guys!) are fun to look at. Speaking of the finale, expect to see some zaniness. Earlier in the film, a very strange "WTF-kind of scene" occurs involving a frog. Once the scene ends, anyone watching will likely yell out, "WTF was that all about?" but don't worry, a quite hillarious payoff for that sequence will eventually show up in the climax. The sequence precedes a very nicely-choregraphed fight between the main hero and villain, who uses his hat as some sort of cool and deadly boomerang device which I thought was a nice touch. So to wrap things up, Joseph Kuo has now appeared to have gone three-for-three in making minor classics for vintage, old school martial arts cinema.

Reviewed by Laydback

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