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Issue #119 HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES August 5th, 2002

Dreaming Fist With Slender Hands

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Mung kuen lan fa sau
Mandarin: Meng quan lan hua shou
English: Dream Fist Orchid Palm

Alternate English Title: Kung Fu Kids

Impetuous kung fu students Lung (Ching Kuo-chung/Ching Yuan-bo, the poor man's Sammo Hung) and Hu are kicked out by their elderly master after aggravating him one time too many. Broke and unemployed, they try their luck at street performing with disastrous results. However, when the pair beat up some drunken thugs trying to run out on their restaurant bill, their abilities attract the attention of a local councilman (Wu Chia-hsiang). Hired to protect Chau Village from a gang of bandits, the pair fail again and are separated: Hu is thrown into the ganglord's prison, while Lung evades capture and gets hired on as a waiter at an inn run by a tyrannical, martially skilled mistress (Hu Chin). Hu shares his cell with an aged kung fu master (Hau Pak-wai) who takes great joy in tormenting him. In reality, of course, the old man is helping Hu improve his skills and the two soon escape. After much begging, Hu and Lung convince their respective elders to instruct them in new kung fu techniques. Lung adopts his mistress' feminine styles (like "Kicking Fairies" and "Lotus Pedal Steps") and improves dramatically, while Hu's skills also greatly increase under his master's tutelage. They have another go at the outlaws and adopt a tag team style when battling the leader (Lung Fei).

A Taiwanese production, DREAMING FIST WITH SLENDER HANDS (FIST is incorrectly pluralized on the packaging) is barely adequate old school fare that only genre devotees will have much patience for. Director Karl Liao Chiang-lin keeps the plotless proceedings moving along at a reasonably brisk pace but the fight choreography is routine and not enough of the running time is devoted to those torturous training sessions which provide much of the entertainment in these pictures (the best finds chubby Ching having to perform chores with his feet bound and wearing those appalling three-inch lotus shoes). The film was written by celebrated novelist Qiong Yao and her participation no doubt accounts for some of the more offbeat touches here. In the end, though, they are not unique or rousing enough to distinguish a thoroughly ordinary punch-and-kick 'em up. This release only includes an English track and the dubbing is as terrible as ever, with the British voice artists a particular distraction ("My God, you fight like a bloody woman!").

Cover art courtesy Tai Seng.

Ching Kuo-chung/Ching Yuan-bo. Image courtesyTai Seng.

Hau Pak-wai. Image courtesy Tai Seng.
Tai Seng #84114 (U.S. Label)

Dolby Digital 2.0

Dubbed In English

8 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With (Tiny) Clips

Fullscreen (cropped from 2.35:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

90 Minutes

Contains mild martial arts violence

DVD menu courtesy Tai Seng.

Not Available


The presentation is derived from the transfer created for Ocean Shores' 1980 cassette release and suffers from the expected limitations. The slightly squeezed image is soft and hazy, with weak contrasts. Night sequences are overly dark, while blacks are too light the rest of the time. The reformatting of the original scope compositions is executed fairly well and the sound is adequate. Some video promo spots are the only extras.

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