STRANGER FROM SHAOLIN (wing chun warriors; wing tsun) (1977 HONG KONG) D: TOMMY LOO CHUNG/CHUN JO-MYUONG (uncredited) W: "NGAI HON" (I. KUANG) P: YEO BAN YEE
Years before Michelle Yeoh starred in WING CHUN (1994), Cecilia Wong played Yim Wing Chun, the only female allowed to study at Shaolin, and who subsequently created the style Wing Chun Fist, in this cheap quickie with a no-name cast. Her main drive is to avenge the death of her Ming loyalist father at the hands of the evil invading Manchu, personified by main bad guy Thompson Kao Kang, who's weapon of choice is his own braided ponytail, used like a whip (he also gouges out eyes). Other true-to-life elements are the character of the Buddhist Nun Ng Mui, who teaches Wing Chung to fight, and the development of the wooden dummy as a training device (the latter rather cack-handedly expressed though). The final showdown suffers from poor continuity, the location and weather changing mid-way through (goodbye snow-covered valley, hello sunny wasteground!). Wong is a pretty and likeable lead, but an unconvincing fighter (certainly no Michelle Yeoh). Yen Shi-Kwan and Leung Ting's choreography is good enough, but this is nothing more than a passable distraction.