1972 • Hong Kong • Directed by Chang-hwa Jeong
Already firmly established as the most successful film studio in Hong Kong, Shaw Brothers’ worldwide commercial breakthrough would not come from one of their lavish epics, but instead from King Boxer, a lean, mean and bloody B-movie by a Korean director. Retitled 5 Fingers of Death by Warner for US distribution, Chung Chang-wha’s thrilling tale of redemption and revenge ignited the international kung fu craze and made Shaw Brothers’ name synonymous with eye-popping action spectaculars.
After his master is attacked by brutish thugs, Zhao Zhihao (Lo Lieh) signs up to a fighting school to help improve his chances at winning the top prize in a national boxing tournament, as well as the love of the master’s daughter. Zhao soon finds himself facing off against a band of powerful tyrants using their martial arts skills to terrorise the locals, but is selected to learn the one technique that may hold the key to defeating them: the Iron Palm.