Sunday, November 11, 2012
THE FIGHTING FIST OF SHANGHAI JOE (1973)
There's not too many spaghetti-western/kung-fu mix-ups as far as I know. I know there's one called SAMURAI that I've seen but that one pales in comparison to this bloody tale of racism and violence in the old west. Chen Lee stars here as our humble and skillful martial-artist looking to become a cowboy after leaving San Francisco for Texas. Lee doesn't look like he had much of a film career having appeared in only four films and he is kinda bland but he does at least make for a convincing Chinese fellow and I guess that was the main reason for his casting. The words "chink" and "slant-eyes" are dropped about every five seconds as we discover every white person in this film is a complete and total racist asshole. There's a massacre on a whole group of Mexican slaves and a raging bull gets amazingly knocked out with a kung-fu kick from our hero. Klaus Kinski shows up for a bit as a homicidal hit-man named Jack The Scalper who, as his namesake suggests, enjoys scalping his victims alive. The only downside to his appearance is the dubbing. I hate when Kinski is dubbed and we're cheated out of hearing his sweet German accent. There's also a cannibal named Pedro, a guy gets his eyeball ripped out of his head and a hand gets chopped off. There's also the big kung-fu showdown battle to tie it all up.
All in all this one has all the elements of a great 70's grindhouse-style classic and I imagine it must have been a big crowd-pleaser on 42nd Street back then. Check it out to see some gory revenge on old-west racist jerks. AKA SHANGHAI JOE, MY NAME IS SHANGHAI JOE & THE DRAGON STRIKES BACK
There is a sequel to this called RETURN OF SHANGHAI JOE but from all the reviews I've read it sounds pretty awful.
Bar-room brawling Shanghai Joe style: