Wei Feng (David Chiang), who is both an outstanding scholar and martial artist, is put to the test by The Emperor and overcomes a Mongol and a priest (Gordon Liu). Satisfied that Feng is up to the task, he dispatches him to the home of the Tien Clan (whom he suspects are guilty of treason) to spy on them. To ensure that Feng does as he's told, The Emperor blackmails Feng, threatening his family. Feng meets Zhizhi, Tien's granddaughter, and she fancies him right away. When Tien learns that Feng is a spy, he makes plans to kill him- whereupon Zhizhi saves Feng by claiming that the two of them are lovers. Instead of the "proposed" execution, a wedding is planned. When Feng insists on returning to his family, he and Zhizhi must run a family gauntlet to get out of the Tien home. This is where some beautifully choreographed fight scenes come in- fight scenes that rival the director's work in the later LEGENDARY WEAPONS OF CHINA. There's a wildly improbable escape that involves the sudden appearance of a dummy (strapped to Feng's back!), but the subsequent scenes wherein Feng observes and then imitates the fighting style of a praying mantis more than makes up for it. Throughout the dubbed version, the Goblin soundtrack from George Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD is put to good use. But it's the twist ending that makes SHAOLIN MANTIS most memorable.
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Shaolin Mantis (Orig. Tang lang) is a 1978 Shaw Brothers film directed by Lau Kar-leung. Starring David Chiang and Liu Chia Hui. Shaolin Mantis tells the story of a man who learns martial arts by observing a praying mantis.
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May 10, 2022 at 03:22 PM