Lady Kung Fu (1972)

Korea, 1934. Three top martial arts school students — shrewd Kao Yu Ying (Angela Mao, everyone’s favorite petite firebrand), sensible Kao Chang (charming Carter Wong), and impetuous Fan Wei (liable Sammo Hung) — move to China to start their own school. They face opposition from a rival Japanese school. Director Feng Huang, working from a compact script by Yan Ho, relates the enjoyable story at a swift pace, maintains a generally serious tone with a few amusing moments of humor, and stages the abundant kung-fu fights with stirring aplomb. Moreover, the plot neatly explores the themes of patience, courtesy, and standing up for the weak and oppressed. The three protagonists are very engaging, with Mao in particular once again in strong and assertive form as she takes on and defeats a school full of guys (she even beats one dude up with her pigtails!). The Japanese villains are quite arrogant and obnoxious. Yu-tang Li’s crisp and lively widescreen cinematography rates as another definite asset. A cool little item.