Spiritual Kung Fu (1978)

Directed by
No classic but worth a look
Reviewed by Simon on 2012-08-31

Jackie Chan is an orphan being raised at Shaolin Temple, when a forbidden manual for a particularly vicious kung fu style is stolen and the thief begins using it to take over the Martial World. Unfortunately the manual for the only style that counter it has been lost for centuries - until five oddly costumed spirits appear in the temple and reveal its location.

Spiritual Kung Fu is quite an odd early Jackie film, in which he plays a frankly rather unlikeable fellow who it's not always easy to root for even when he's the only one capable of stopping a disaster. The script is a bit ramshackle, with odd interludes that serve little benefit to the plot, but in a round about way it gets to delivering a basic but adequate story.

There is a fair amount of comedy in the film, some of it making quite creative use of split-screen and multiple-exposure shots to allow the spirits to do spirity things. It is unfortunately blighted by the kung fu comedy curse, aka Dean Shek, but not to an overly destructive degree.

Action scenes are pretty good, as you'd expect from Jackie, though they fall well short of the elaborate and innovative choreography he would become known for not long after this film was made, when he was finally able to part company with Lo Wei.

One for Jackie fans only, I guess, but worth a look if you've seen all of his Golden Era films and still want more.