Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Black Belt Theatre Vol 14 8 Diagram Fighter/Magnificent Natural Fist|
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
Relavence of "8 Diagram" Uncertain/"Natural Fist" very Poor
P. Burdick | Oneonta, NY United States | 02/12/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Overall, this was an interesting and entertaining film, with a pretty good plot and fight scenes. It follows the path of the "5th Son" of the Yiang family after his father and the rest of his brothers (except 6th Son), loyal to the emperor, are defeated in battle by Mongol rebels. 5th Son is wounded. He and 6th Son escape from the battle, but in different directions.
5th Son is helped by priests at a Buddhist monastery, where he hides and where his wounds are cared for. 5th Son is allowed to train with the monks, melding his family's unique Yiang Spear style with Shaolin pole style.
Eventually, the rage of the Mongol rebels disrupts the monastery, drawing 5th Son--who in the course of the story is reunited with his brother and sister--the monks and priests into a final showdown.
What I found bizarre, and what I felt the movie could have done without, making the film better as the result, were these amateurish special effects; for example: people appearing out of thin air, darts of light thrown from the hand, hokey electromagnetic-looking fields surrounding a person's body, and the like, during many of the fight scenes. In addition, the "8 Diagrams" amounted to nothing more than the 8 trigrams of the I-Ching superimposed on the screen during a training sequence, but otherwise having no apparent connection with the plot, script or storyline. (Well, maybe it had to do with the "completeness" of the fighting style that evolved from combining Yiang and Shaolin.) All-in-all, these unnecessary and poorly executed effects gave a decidedly (and annoyingly) 1970's flavor to the film which, frankly, I think the viewer could do without. Also, the final fight scene seemed hurried, and the wire work too fantastic and incongruent with earlier scenes in the film. For these reasons, I deducted 1 star from the rating.
Aside from these chief gripes, I really liked the thoughful character of 5th Son, his interaction with the Buddhist monks and priests, and the ultimate decision he makes at the end of the film (which I won't spoil for you).
The prospective buyer should note that this film, 8 Diagram Fighter, which shares similarities with The Invincible Pole Fighters (starring Gordon Liu) is NOT the same film.
In summary, second shelf entertainment.
As for "Magnificent Natural Fist," in a word: Terrible. The video transfer is extremely poor. The movie seems to be spliced together with no rhyme nor reason. The fight scenes are low-grade and sped up. The make up on the nose of the main character is hideous. In general, a regretable concoction. I have yet to sit through the film in its entirety, and I normally have a cast iron stomach for bad kung-fu films.
From what I have seen so far on the "Black Belt" double feature series, the second film is pure filler, and the pictures on the front cover often have little, if anything, to do with what is on the DVD itself.
Average for the two films=(1+3)/2=2"