Hand of Death (Audio-commentary by Frank Djeng & Michael Worth)
Hand of Death • Action
1976 • Hong Kong • Directed by John Woo
When Golden Harvest first released Hand of Death in 1976, no-one paid much attention to the names of writer/director Wu Yu-sheng, third-billed actor Chen Yuen-lung or fight choreographer Hung Chin-pao in the opening credits. Within a decade, however, each of those men had changed the course of Hong Kong action filmmaking forever, under the names they are best known under to this day: John Woo, Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung.
After a traitor of the Shaolin temple, Shih Shao-Feng (James Tien, The Big Boss), has eliminated thousands of his former colleagues in exchange for power from the Manchus under the Qing dynasty, a surviving master of Shaolin, Yun Fei (Tao-Liang Tan), is tasked with the mission of bringing Shih to justice. In order to defeat Shih's overwhelmingly large army - led by the ruthless Tu Ching (Sammo Hung) - Yun Fei will need to team up with a skilled blacksmith (Jackie Chan) and a reluctant swordsman to beat the odds and avenge his fallen brothers.
With early signs of John Woo's affinity for brotherly bonding amidst heroic bloodshed, and featuring one of Jackie Chan's earliest speaking roles after proving his mettle as a stuntman, Hand of Death is an old school hard-hitting kung fu gem (with a dash of wuxia) that any fan of classic Hong Kong cinema needs in their collection!