Stroke of Death (1979)

Siu-Tung Ching, Chiu-Sing Hau, Feng Kuan, Hui Huang Lin,
Chu long ma liu is a movie starring Siu-Tung Ching, Chiu-Sing Hau, and Feng Kuan. A small-time crook goes in search of the other half of a wooden keepsake which will lead him to the legendary kung fu technique of the Gibbon Clan...
  • 6.2 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • On Szeto, Writer:
  • Mar Lo, Director:
  • Run Run Shaw, Producer:

All subtitles:



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7 / 10

Great action - Beware of name mix-up

Lo Mar's "Monkey Kung Fu" does not have much of a story but the action and performance by martial arts choreographer Tony Ching Siu-Tung ("House of Flying Daggers", "Chinese Ghost Story") is absolutely amazing. His athletic stunts, wireless jumps and kicks are a joy to behold. The new Shaw Brothers DVD is the best deal to watch this incredible action.

However, it seems there is a little mix-up in the names and the user comments of the film. The time I'm writing this, the IMDb picture shows "Monkey Kung Fu" aka. "Monkey Fist, Floating Snake", a vastly inferior movie. But the cast refers to the Shaw film, which is also listed as "Stroke of Death" (1980) - its alternative title.

"Monkey Kung Fu" by Lo Mars starring Ching Siu-Tung tells of a small time crook who gets sentenced to prison. He meets a one-eyed master in the cell who gives him a mysterious object. Ching breaks out of prison with another guy and searches for the answer to the riddle which will lead him to "Gibbon Fist Clan"'s kung-fu technique.

7 / 10

Highly impressive kung fu action/adventure

Hearing that "Monkey Kung fu" had almost non-existent plot, I did not expect to like this one, but the fact is, this is a highly enjoyable film, thanks mainly to the leads, Ching Siu-tung & Hou Chao-sheng, who together, bring an incredible energy to the screen. Not so much a comedy, but the sheer insanity of the kung fu action is enough to make any viewer laugh and shake their head in amazement. The story is simple; a pair of convicts escape from prison, to discover the mystery of "Gibbon fist," a kung fu technique thought to be lost. They each hold one half of a wooden amulet, and when it it is pieced together, it will lead the pair to a mountain top, where an ancient scroll is hidden. Of course there is a rival clan bent on destroying them and claiming the scroll for themselves. Along the way we join this crazy pair for some off the wall situations; like when Wei Chun (Ching) must battle his way out of a whorehouse after short changing the prostitute, (who kicks his ass with some truly eye-popping kung fu of her own.) In fact, you will see some of the absolute finest kung fu ever captured on film. Also known as "Stroke of Death," this one is a bit reminiscent of "Hellz Windstaff" in how the two friends seem to become one when fighting, working off each other to bring down their opponent. The more involved story and character development of Windstaff makes that one superior, but "Monkey Kung Fu" is a very worthy entry in the history of 1970's kung fu classics; Recommended.

5 / 10

pretty standard kungfu movie.

The story is as always not important in these old kungfu movies, but it's about a young boy that's being bullied and eventually learns the secret of monkey style kungfu so he can face the bad guy of the movie.

It has some fun spots, and overall it's a good movie if you like the old kungfu stuff :)

My version of the movie was dubbed to English, but the dub was alright. Actually some of these movies are better when they are dubbed, comments like "My Tiger will eat your snake" before they start to fight can make me laugh so my stomach hurts.

The opening credits had one of the funniest music tunes i've heard, combine this with two men playing monkeys and you have a great opening of a funny movie about monkey kungfu :)

7 / 10

80 minutes of kung fu - 10 minutes of plot

Are you ready for endless action with the thinnest of plots? No? OK that's warning enough. You want to see extremely talented martial artists and acrobats fight each other? Yes? This is the right film. Sloppily directed by second tier Shaw Bros. director Lo Mar, this film is carried by the fight choreographer and the actors.

The plot? Imprisoned brash young martial artist and fellow prisoner, who is a student of a "Gibbon Fist" master just executed, escape and search for the lost Gibbon Fist Kung Fu manual while being chased by the son of the deceased master's greatest enemy, a pole fighting master. That's it, no dramatic filler, no lengthy explanations, just fighting.

The martial arts are truly impressive. The people involved really made an effort for the most part. The story is really a series of set pieces that barely relate to each other. Two big scenes are completely pointless except for the martial art and acrobatic skills on display. This film is one of the few places to see action choreographer Siu-Tung Ching on camera showing what he knows. Not the most photogenic guy but he can move. Director Lo Mar seems to have quit the business soon after this film and it's a good thing. His sense of editing is some of the worst I've seen in HK films. If not for the talents of the actors and to a lesser degree the cameraman, this film would have been trash.

Recommended for fight fans. Need a story and some character interaction? Not here.

7 / 10

Fast paced and entertaining

Ching is an cocky, under-achieving crook that ends up in prison, where he meets an old man who schools him in a prison kung fu duel. However the old man is sufficiently impressed with Ching as to give him half of a wooden amulet. The other half is possessed by a fellow inmate, and the two go off on a rollicking kung fu adventure to find an ancient scroll.

Monkey Kung Fu delivers fast paced action in a variety of backdrops - courtyards, mountain meadows, and tea houses where the furniture is predictably, and satisfyingly, reduced to firewood. And the brothel full of kung fu prostitutes was pretty fun. While most of the comedy is cheesy, there are so good one-liners ("Are you tired yet"? "No, I have a date with your sister tonight!"), and it keeps the movie light and entertaining.

The fight choreography starts off not too good in my opinion - moves kind of choppy and slow - but by the 38 minute mark, during the fight in a courtyard, it improves vastly. By the end, with a frenetic fight to the death in the mountains with a skilled bo (staff) master, it is some of the best in the genre. Very much recommended.