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Best 1970s Kung Fu Movies From Hong Kong
The 1970s Kung Fu Movie Traditions
Martial arts tournaments were introduced into some of the Midwest States during the1970s, many years later after the famous master Jhoon Rhee brought Taekwondo to Indiana in 1956. Illinois residents made these tournaments very popular and filled large martial arts studios as well before the activity was known by many people in Ohio.
Martial arts films from Hong Kong soon followed the tournaments into Ohio and the rest of the Midwest. These are films made in the 1970s were unknown to most of us until they were rerun on late night television on local metro shows like Kung Fu Theater.
The host of the show was a local martial arts promoter in our large city that was still behind the times in martial arts. Very few dojos, dojangs, or kwoons in this town, but The Ohio State university offered judo classes.
The television show had a small live studio audience and during commercial breaks, the host of the program would bring out an audience member and teach them a fun but ineffective martial arts technique.I hope no one tried to use those moves in real life.
We laughed more at the on screen lessons then we did at the films, but all were very funny. Today, many of the old Hong Kong martial arts films are cult classics that cause people to stay up very late to catch them on broadcast and cable TV stations.
In the 1980s, USA Network Broadcast Their Own Kung Fu Theater
Martial Arts And Films
Martial arts tournaments were just beginning in our city in the 1980s and they consisted of boxing matches in which opponents each were required to throw one kick per round or be disqualified. Times surely have changed.
For practical purposes, Olympic Taekwondo matches are all kicks and hand techniques score no points.
Today I look back on the commercial breaks during Kung Fu Theater and laugh. They were silly, but entertaining.
Kung Fu Theater
Kung Fu Theater presented a series of films acted by a group of contract players in Hong Kong. The program host entitled them,The Tales of Golden Arm for his late night series. Their given titles began with The Kid with the Golden Arm.
The films were dubbed with English by a consistent set of voice actors and the lips and speeches rarely matched. The voice actors also overacted from time to time, but this added to the fun. Some of the same over acting occurs when Alton Brown translates for a Japanese on the USA Iron Chef team today.
Iron Chef Morimoto can speak English fairly well but perhaps not as quickly as the pacing of the program requires. However, AB lends a touch of kung fu movie spoof to the voiceover that I think he does not even intend to apply. Much fun! It reminds me of The Tales of Golden Arm and makes me laugh. I hope Morimoto is not offended.
10 Great Moves From "Golden Arm" - As Seen On Kung Fu Theater
Surreal And Action Packed
Paste.com named "Kid With The Golden Arm" as Number 20 on their list of the 100 Best Martial Arts Films ever.
The Kid With the Golden Arm was a 1979 production of the Shaw Brothers, who brought the world a long line of kung fu films. Lo Meng (or Lo Mang, and several other stage names) starred as the kid that had the golden arm, the youngest of a fighting clan.
Lo Meng was a member of an actual group of martial artists called the Venom Mob, whose members also acted.
Besides the golden armed kid, Lo Mang's most famous role was Toad in 1978's Five Deadly Venoms. These are the films that I enjoyed on Kung Fu Theater, along with Return Of the 5 Deadly Venoms (or Crippled Avengers), Five Element Ninjas, and Ten Tigers from Kwangtung.
Lo Meng Since 1980
The martial artist Lo Meng continues to act, but in the 2010s, turned his energies to comedy for Hong Kong television shows as Lo Wang.
He also choreographs martial arts films in the tradition of the Venom Mob and Shaw Brothers Studios.
In the Kid with the Golden Arm, he plays Boss Golden Arms.
From 1976 through May 2016, he worked in 81 movies.
Five Deadly Venoms
Classic 1970s Kung Fu
Kid With the Golden Arm
The Chinese person Yang Yu Heng is asked by his government to guard a gold shipment traveling into a region fraught with famine. This is difficult, because he must confront the Chi Sah gang that broadcasts its strength in leader Golden Arm (Lo Meng), Silver Spear, Iron Robe, and Brass Head. They are dangerous and deadly men of kung fu (wushu) expertise.
Yang Yu Heng must protect the gold shipment from this gang of kung fu fighters. To do so, he hires another cast of colorful fighting characters. He hires the swordsman Li Chin Ming and his girlfriend, Miss Leng, along with the team of Short Axe and Long Axe, and finally, the drunken kung fu master Hai To.
This film has all the elements of a good comedy, although it was not meant to be so. It is a little like Kung Fu Hustle, another of my favorites; but also reminds me of the book series beginning with Number Ten Ox.
Finally, it is like Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee's When Taekwondo Strikes, but a humorous, distorted version. All of these stories are either entertaining, inspiring, or both.
Jars Of Wine
Drinking is heavily involved in The Kid With the Golden Arm, as indicated by the drunken master and the wineries visited. Fighters drink many jars of wine. This all serves to being additional, almost slapstick, humor to the plot in the 1970s and its several fight scenes.
I won't give away much more of the story, except to say that Miss Leng survives to take on an important duty,
In 2016, Lo Meng remains active in film and television productions at the age of 62, acting as a comedian and action choreographer. He has maintained his martial arts and physical fitness status well beyond the end of the cult kung fu films he made.
Among his current work is the 2010 biographical film Ip Man, based on the life of the well known, historical martial arts practitioner of the same name.
Classic Fight Scene from Golden Arm
© 2010 Patty Inglish