The Boxer from Shantung ★★★★

Chen Kuan-tai punches dudes in the fist. David Chiang dies a glorious death, kicking off one of the most brutal half hours of director Chang Cheh's career.

Chen is a new immigrant to 1930s Shanghai who fighting prowess earns him the respect of Chiang's old school gangster, the enmity of the rival, less honorable gang, and the love of the people (after defeating a giant Russian in the wrestling ring). Chen and Chiang are gangsters with hearts of gold, united by their belief in the wuxia code of chivalry. Since this is a Chang Cheh film, they are of course done in by their belief in said code when it turns out that not everyone else shares it.

The moments when each man realizes their mistake are heart-breaking. Their defiance in fighting on regardless, hatchet in their ribs be damned, is the essence of Chang Cheh.

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