Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

7 Grandmasters

Today’s Trillion Dollar Movie, 7 Grandmasters, might not be the most groundbreaking martial arts movie, but it still stands as a spirited embodiment of Old School Kung Fu. Writer-producer-director Joseph Kuo perfected his craft working with the Shaw Brothers in Hong Kong before returning to his native Taiwan in 1978 to make this indie.

Kuo didn’t have a lot of production money behind him, but he compensated by hiring some of the best fight choreographers and stuntmen around, and casting unknowns who proved to be exceptionally talented. Jack Long, later seen in Master of the Flying Guillotine, plays Shang Kuan Cheng, a celebrated kung-fu champion nearing retirement. He’s just about to kick his kick-ass ways when he accepts one last challenge — to travel around the countryside, proving he can still defeat all of the known masters.  Each employs a different mode of attack, while Cheng retaliates with his signature Pai Mei Fist Style.

Buoyed by crack editing and camerawork, the film wastes no time in demonstrating a wild variety of fighting techniques. There are also the obligatory comic interludes, as Cheng reluctantly picks up a new disciple, a devoted but buffoon-like protege who ultimately helps save the geezer’s bacon.  “You’re a fool,” Cheng tells the boy, “but you’ve got guts.”

It’s entertaining and also instructive. Afterwards, you’ll know exactly why you should never munch on a chicken’s anus. Enjoy, and join us again next Friday for another Trillion ($) Movie.

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