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King Boxer: Fingers of Death

4.4 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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(Jun 19, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A student of kung fu meets resistance on his way to a major Chinese tournament.

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Better known in the United States as Five Fingers of Death, this spectacular mix of martial arts action and Western-style melodrama from the legendary Shaw Brothers Studios helped to light the fuse for the kung fu movie explosion in the early '70s. Indonesian actor Lo Lieh is the young acolyte caught up in a struggle between rival martial arts schools; after one villainous outfit murders several of Lieh's classmates with the help of hired killers, he trains to develop the invincible "Iron Palm" technique and defeat the opposing school. Korean director Chang-hwa Jeong delivers stunning (and very violent) action set pieces (set to a dizzying array of American library music cues, most notably Quincy Jones' theme to Ironside) but also manages to create a compelling and dramatic sub-story about loyalty and honor. The result is a martial arts film that can be enjoyed by viewers who aren't fanatical about the genre and diehard kung fu heads alike. The widescreen DVD (which surpasses all previous VHS and DVD versions of the film) includes an interesting commentary track by Quentin Tarantino (who aided Dragon Dynasty in assembling its Shaw Brothers library) and critics Elvis Mitchell and David Chute, who discuss King Boxer's appeal and thematic similarities to Hollywood product; Chute is also featured with critic Andy Klein in one of three short supplements about the film's production and history, with director Jeong and martial arts choreographer Liu Chia-Liang taking center stage for the others. - Paul Gaita

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Lo Lieh, Tien Feng
  • Directors: Cheng Chang Ho
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Chinese, English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2007
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MM0LE6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,611 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "King Boxer: Fingers of Death" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
King Boxer (aka Five Fingers of Death) came out in 1973 and is a classic example of a Shaw Brothers kung fu film - a genre they helped pioneer and perfect with this movie being one of the finest efforts from this time period. It also has the distinction of being the first kung fu film to be released in the United States, just ahead of Bruce Lee's equally influential Enter the Dragon. In the 1980s, it inspired filmmaker John Carpenter to make Big Trouble in Little China and more recently was a huge influence on Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill movies.

The filmmakers maintain just the right level of pacing with very short lulls between action sequences. Let's face it - we're not watching King Boxer for its thoughtful characterization. That is not to say that this film is not well made or doesn't take itself seriously because it does, but it is hardly Shakespeare either. Director Cheng Chang Ho employs sudden zoom in and outs and even the occasional freeze frame during many of the film's dynamic fight scenes. This is a beautifully shot movie with expert use of the 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio with superb compositions of every frame. The use of shadows for dramatic effect in one scene, and a brief fight that takes place at sunset that looks like something right out of 1950s Technicolor era, is part of the reason why this film is so revered among kung fu film fans.

King Boxer features betrayal, torture, revenge and even some heroic style redemption thrown in for good measure - all heightened to melodramatic levels making for a very entertaining ride. Our hero has to deal with a devastating injury and his own self-doubts before he can face the bad guys and use the Iron Palm technique to save the day.
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Format: DVD
The first martial arts film released in America (under the title, "5 Fingers of Death" in about 1972) should not be missed by kung fu fans, and not just as "the film that started it all". I think the choreography in this movie (while heavily over-edited) is better than most of the movies that followed: At least 'til the Venoms, Lau Kar Leung, and Sammo Hung came into their prime. Body slams and blood and general nastiness are all here. Along with good, old-fashioned, grain-fed, prime-cut revenge.

Around the same time as "King Boxer", Bruce Lee's "Chinese Connection" and "Enter the Dragon" had fast and precise fight scenes. After his death, Hong Kong cinema churned out countless pieces of crap, trying to cash in, obviously choreographed by Zatoichi & Stevie Wonder, and produced in some guy's Dad's garage for $20 (U.S.) and a pack of smokes. Yet they were so popular that the level and speed of the fight scenes really didn't need to change. If you don't believe how much slower fights in movies got, watch "King Boxer", and then put in Chan's "Drunken Master". The fights in this are WAY faster, and this was made 6-7 years prior. I don't know if they're quite as creative or fluid but they're far more entertaining (IMO).

I'll try and keep the synopsis lean. Lo Lieh is a student chosen to represent his school in a tournament and is plagued by human obstacles, both in house, and from a rival school. The rival school is populated by some really mean jerks. And when they're not mean enough, they import some even meaner jerks from Japan.

After years of cheap prints, Dragon Dynasty (God bless them) has given us a beautifully remastered, English-dubbed (if you so choose), widescreen DVD, packed with special features.
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Format: DVD
Seeing this for the first time you may knock it for being fairly paint by numbers(train/tragedy/train harder/revenge/redemption)... problem is that this is one of the original paintings that the formula is based off! King Boxer is classic kung-fu action in the finest sense of the word. Lo Lieh as our heroic lead is great and shows flashes of Bruce Lee type charisma(but not nearly his furious fighting) and will have you rooting for him through every uphill battle he's in. Lots of cool characters and action scenes, including the 3 Japanese masters brought in to derail our hero(and bust his hands up real good!). The movie just oozes style and grittiness that in this new age of martial arts film we may never see again(Kill Bill excluded, although Tarantino really should be paying royalties to everyone involved here)... so sit back and enjoy it like the fine wine it truly is!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a classic hand combat choreographed 70's martial arts movie. I see why Dragon Dynasty re-mastered it. The fight scenes are outstanding and the movie's pace is good. Solid story and good action acting. Just a good martial arts movie.
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Format: DVD
Kudo's to the Weinstein Company and Dragon Dynasty for finally releasing this Kung Fu classic on DVD. The audio and video restoration that went into this DVD release is absolutely incredible and Martial Arts fans won't be disappointed. "King Boxer" is presented in it's 2.35:1 Widescreen format and enhanced for 16x9 television's. The films colors are incredibly sharp and vibrant and the mono sound is clear and crisp.

The video transfer of "King Boxer" is the absolute best version I have ever seen and fans of the Kung Fu genre will be amazed by the quality of this release. Sound options include original Mandarin and English dubbed version and choice of subtitles. The special features are an added bonus, specially the Trailer Gallery. This movie has it all, non-stop action, fierce fighting and plenty of blood. Watch the magnificent Lo Lieh as he masters the Iron Fist technique and exacts his revenge. "King Boxer" is five star Kung Fu entertainment at it's very best. Highly recommend !!

The DVD Features Include:
* Feature commentary by filmmaker Quentin Taratino and film scholars David Chute and Elvis Mitchell
* Interview with director Chang-Hwa Jeong
* Interview with action director Lau Kar-Wing
* Interview with film scholars David Chute and Andy Klein
* Stills gallery
* Trailer gallery
* Commentator biograhies
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