Shaolin Mantis ★★★★

Weird watching this after a half dozen other Lau Kar-leung movies in which nobody dies at all. The violence here, gory and nihilistic, seems more in line with Chang Cheh than Lau, and one gets the feeling that his real interest is in the ten minute montage sequence two-thirds of the way through the film, when David Chiang, lost and desperate, invents a new martial art by copying the movements of a praying mantis. Lau the teacher is on full display here, demonstrating the genesis of traditional martial arts (Shaolin-derived kung fu has five animal-based fighting techniques) and the logic behind why the fighter moves the way he does.