The movie that firmly established Chen Kuan-tai as a kung-fu superstar, The Boxer From Shantung was a top ten hit for 1972 and is now considered a martial arts classic. Chen is perfectly cast as “Ma Yung Cheng” (which is also the film’s Chinese title), an early 20th century patriotic youth from Shantung (northern China) who moves to Shanghai and gains fame as the first Chinese to defeat a professional Russian wrestler. When he refuses to become a hired assassin for the city’s leading gang, he finds life on Shanghai’s mean streets far riskier than the boxing ring. With the help of martial arts choreographers Liu Chia-liang and brother Liu Chia-jung, Chen shows that he’s more than equal to any boxer in or out of China. “Hong Kong Action Cinema” cites this as one of director Chang Cheh’s ten best, describing it as an “intense actioner, featuring bloodletting of Sam Peckinpah proportions.” This is also one of the first movies on which John Woo worked as assistant director, and it is interesting to see the Shaw Brothers influences on his later works like "Broken Arrow" and "Face/Off".
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