Hand Of Death (1976)

Directed by
Largely forgettable Shaolin story
Reviewed by Simon on 2021-11-13

With three future titans of Hong Kong cinema on set you'd expect HAND OF DEATH to be something special, but it's... not. You certainly wouldn't guess that John Woo, Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung would be box office kings a decade later.

The film is another largely forgettable tale of Shaolin heroes vs Manchu villains, a lot like the ones Chang Cheh was churning out at the time except it is filmed in some gorgeous locations (Korea?) rather than the Shaw Brothers studio and is somewhat redeemed by a great final fight between "Flash Legs" Tan and James Tien.

Jackie is barely recognisable here - in fact the first time I saw it I wasn't completely sure that he was the character I thought he was. You can catch a few glimpses of Yuen Biao and Yuen Wah as stuntmen if you're so inclined.

Woo doesn't stamp much of his own personality on the film though, and apart from the final fight even Sammo's action choreography is somewhat uninspired. There is nothing obvious in it that hints at the future careers of those involved.

Crew

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Action Director
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Notes

Also known as

  • Countdown In Kung Fu