Ma Yong Zhen (Boxer from Shantung)

In Chinese the title 'Ma Yong Zhen' (in  characters马永贞) means hero. The hero is also called Ma Yong Zhen in the movie and he's a young man from the impoverished country side trying his luck in the big city of Shanghai near the end of the nineteenth century. Attracting all kind of attention because of his fighting skills, he is hired by a local gangster after he has beaten a foreign champion in a duel. The beautiful singer Jin Lingzi, also employed by the crime Lord, seems to develop a crush on him and hopes things will change in the Shanghai underworld because of him. But Ma is too much taken up with himself and his new position, and when he realizes he has made a mistake, it's already too late ...

This is a much studied and discussed Shaw Brothers movie, often reckoned among the best of its kind. It was directed by Chang Cheh, probably best known for his One-Armed Swordman trilogy. John Woo was one of the assistant-directors and has declared that the movie was a major source of inspiration for him when he started directing for himself. The choreography of the fight scenes is flawless, with the emphasis more on real fighting techniques than the usual acrobatic stunts. Chen Kuan-Tai was one of those real martial arts champions to join the Shaw movies company, and it shows.

With good (if rather basic) storytelling, excellent fight scenes and a truly overwhelming (and very bloody) finale, this is no doubt a classic martial arts movie. It was clearly influended by Sergio Leone (especially by A Fistfull of Dollars) but lacks the picturesque beauty of the spaghetti western. Those cardboard Hong Kong sets replacing the 19th century city of Shanghai can hardly be called convincing. The running time of different versions vary from a little over 90 minutes to a reported 130 minutes (!) for the uncut Hong Kong version.The version I saw, had a running time of a little under two hours.

FX Acteren Sfeer Originaliteit Totaal
7 7 7.5 6 7

Aanraders in overeenkomstige genres, volgens Boobytrap:
- Ip Man (martial arts / drama : 7.5)
- Jing wu men (Fist of Fury) (martial arts : 7)
- Sanbiki no Samurai (Three Outlaw Samurai) (martial arts : 7)
- One-Armed Swordsman (Dubei dao) (martial arts : 7)
- Hap Ki Do (martial arts : 7)

Hoe beoordeelt Boobytrap categorie martial arts eigenlijk?

Hoe beoordelen bezoekers deze recensie?

Ma Yong Zhen (Boxer from Shantung)
Ma Yong Zhen (Boxer from Shantung)
Ma Yong Zhen (Boxer from Shantung)
Ma Yong Zhen (Boxer from Shantung)

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