Dragon Fist (1972)

Directed by
So you say you want a revolution
Reviewed by Simon on 2024-05-12

Something of a history lesson, though I doubt anybody in Taiwan needed reminding of this slice of history in 1972. As foreign nations force China into a subservient role, overseas students in Japan start making plans to overthrow the ailing Qing dynasty and start a republic. This film is set some years before their eventual success, when the revolution was just getting underway.

It's quite a compelling story, focussing primarily on a woman named Qiu Yin (Kuo Hsiao-Chuang), who leaves behind her family to take up the mantle of revolutionary. Her story is threaded with that of Xu Xilin (Jimmy Wang Yu), whose family are able to get him an official position which he uses to put together a revolutionary force.

The film finds numerous excuses for things to erupt into combat. It's a Jimmy Wang Yu film so the action is not very sophisticated - mostly large brawls where our heroes battle soldiers and cops with knives and fists. I don't know anything about Kuo Hsiao-Chuang but she fights quite well. She doesn't have the athleticism that would suggest Peking Opera training, but she has some moves.

There's not much more to say about the film, it's fairly typical for the era - nationalist propaganda, fisticuffs and heroic sacrifice. It's fine, and the story is well fleshed-out, but there isn't really anything to make it essential viewing.