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Not Rated
Copyright 1980 Peace Film Productions
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 12 March 2001

The Characters:  

  • No credits were provided and I am an American trying to spell Chinese names; this could get bumpy.
  • Au Chang - Young fighter who worked in the city; upon returning home he must find out what happened to his Godfather.
  • Siu Ming - Best friend to Au Chang and a monk, though not really cut out for the pious lifestyle involved. Killed by Au Chang.
  • Master - Old monk and mentor to Siu Ming, of course his kung fu is very powerful. He can even fight using two different styles at the same time! "Left hand Buddha Palm, right hand Buddha Fist!"
  • An Yuh - Barber that lost his job due to Au Chang, so he tags along. Not a very good fighter, but he does do all the cooking required. I refuse to draw any conclusions about their relationship from this.
  • Godfather - Au Chang's that is, he has the veins in his arms and legs torn out (Ouch!) before being killed.
  • Ass Yuh - She worked in the incense shop and only had a small part, but her name amused me. Sent to join Buddha.
  • The Hunchback - Evil restaurant owner who knows Holy Ghost Claw! Apparently a fighting style for those with serious arthritis. Killed when he is splashed with poisoned tea.
  • Chen Yang - Bad guy with the requisite physical defect, one of his feet is small and the other is large. Killed by Au Chang.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

"The Buddhist Fist" has a number of good points on which to recommend it, every one of them a nicely choreographed fight scene. It was blessed with a plot (of sorts), but if you want to watch some impressive old school then this is a keeper.

A number of "item fu" fight scenes are scattered throughout the movie. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this is when the combatants are either using a unusual item as a weapon (like a chessboard) or fighting around the item (like a birdcage). When done correctly it almost seems like a dance, the two warriors trading the item as they exchange blows. They pulled it off marvelously here, though the songbird looked a little perplexed and wigged out after his cage was tossed around.

We are first introduced to Au Chang and Siu Ming during their childhood. Even at such a young age it is obvious the young monk has a bad streak; he steals a potato and hands it off to Au Chang! This prompts a small horde of other children, evidently sons and daughters of the potato farmer, to pummel the thieves.

Years later the pair are well trained in their kung fu, but Au Chang is departing for the city to earn his fortune as a barber. Monks need a positive peer role model, so Siu Ming is soon framed for murder by a mysterious villain. Before modern police techniques were invented being framed for murder was surprisingly easy. A woman coerces the monk into drinking himself unconscious and then Chen Yang strangles her, leaving the body there with Siu Ming.

Meanwhile, the budding barber has his own troubles, namely a botched shaving job. Through a minor misunderstanding Au Chang shaves half the mustache from a violent customer and the resulting fight destroys the shop. Owners frown on you beating up the customers and damaging their property, so the unemployed barbers journey to Au Chang's village.

Things are looking bad on the home front; a masked fighter tried to steal the temple's jade Buddha statuette and Godfather has disappeared. It quickly becomes obvious that dark forces are at work. Strangers are trying to kill Au Chang! Assassins are hired to do him in and someone even puts a cute little green snake in his pocket. I think the snake was supposed to be poisonous, but maybe he had a snake phobia and they knew about it.

People in China must be constantly on the alert, because evidently a friendly greeting involves attacking someone to test their kung fu. Time after time when the childhood companions see each other they launch into a whirlwind of kicks and punches. Next time you see an old pal try taking a swing at him, show how cultured you have become.

DISCLAIMER: Don't coldcock your friend you moron, I was joking.

The bad guys are exposed and a climactic battle takes place between the two friends, with the monk pulling a potentially fatal punch in the end and letting Au Chang kill him. As noted, it is just an excuse to set up different fight scenes. I love seeing them choose different styles and, of course, announce which one. "Drunken Buddha" countered by "Furious Buddha" and so forth. With all the kung fu he invented you get to wondering when Buddha had time to start a religion.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Beware of little boys bearing sweet potatoes as gifts.
  • Old kung fu masters are kept tethered to priceless works of art as a sort of cheap security system.
  • Don't nod off in the barber's chair.
  • Sometimes Chess requires kung fu.
  • Buddha frowns on people who steal potatoes.
  • Knowing how to fight with a bamboo pole is great, unless the other guy is using a steel polearm.
  • Old kung fu masters rock.
  • Even in a language with thousands of unique characters spelling mistakes can happen.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 2 mins - Kid fu?
  • 17 mins - I am having problems accepting disco music as an appropriate musical score for this movie.
  • 20 mins - So those are the ancient Chinese laws covering cow rape...
  • 31 mins - Somewhere, in some ancient tome, somebody must have stated that eating the pieces is against the rules.
  • 40 mins - Narrow forehead? Maybe you should look again.
  • 52 mins - "I'll hit you so hard that I'll knock that hunch off your back!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note buddhafist1.wav The police captain explaining the laws governing bovine rape.
Green Music Note buddhafist2.wav Bad Guy: "Wait a minute, isn't it against the law to beat up a monk?"
Green Music Note buddhafist3.wav Master: "I've watched your kung fu and I'm surprised, it's near perfection. Actually, Buddha Palm and Fist are the same origin. Left hand Buddha Palm, right hand Buddha Fist!"
Green Music Note buddhafist4.wav Siu Ming: "Furious Buddha!"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipbuddhafist1.mpg - 2.8m
Au Chang greets his old friend with a furious attack. Gotta love the windmill blocking system that Siu Ming uses.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2
The Buddhist Fist
Reply #1. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Mad Tim
This movie is sweet, Sleeping Instinct fighting is wicked and the hunch back kills me
The Buddhist Fist
Reply #2. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by David Chung
   Hi there.  I have come to this site quite often and looked at the reviews for various movies.  I was especially surprised to see Buddhist Fist included.  It has some very good martial arts in it, and since there were no credits in the video/dvd that the reviewer had seen, I would like to help out.  For one thing, this movie was directed by Yuen Woo-Ping, the martial arts director of such famous movies as The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

   Just thought that you guys would like to know.  Oh, and I'm a really huge Evil Dead fan, in addition to a martial arts movie watcher.  Story of Ricki is very gory, hehehe.
The Buddhist Fist
Reply #3. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Chris
This is a pretty cool early effort by aclaimed H.K. director Yuen Woo Ping. The fight scenes look great. Keep an eyes out for the "Table" fight scene, with the two characters exchanging hand strikes, one with chop sticks, with the minimal amount of movement. Really cool.
The Buddhist Fist
Reply #4. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by old beggar
Wow, this flick shows great fighting and its pretty funny to. Simon Yuen is starring some to and he is "god" so pick this one up!
The Buddhist Fist
Reply #5. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Scott
Man has searched for the meaning of life for as long as he has existed. Below is the recipe for true happiness.

First take one bag of weed.Smoke the weed. Take a large bottle of very strong Cider or alcoholic beverage of your choice. Drink it whilst smoking the weed. Whilst doing these things watch any old school kung fu movie which has at least some of the following ingredients.

Bad dubbing in silly accents
Villains who laugh like lunatics and have long white hair.The hair MUST be white. This is very important. If it aint white then they are not a true kung fu villain.
Combatants who yell out the names of their attacks.
Most importantly the movie must contain MONKS! Especialy monks with long eyebrows. No One kicks ass like a Shaolin Abbot!

Buddhist fistcovers these conditions. The movie rocks and will leave ya with a big old smile on ya face.

Also recomended are One armed Boxer 1&2, Zu Warriors, 5 Deadly Venoms, 36 Chambers Of Shaolin, Shaolin Challenges Ninja, Magnificent Butcher, The mystery of Chess Boxing, Any film whose title includes the words Shaolin, Wu Tang, Monks, Magnificent, Wonder.

Follow my words and know true happiness.

Hehehe Left hand Buddah Palm, Right hand Buddah Fist b***h!!
The Buddhist Fist
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Serge
TOTAL CLASSIC!! The minimalist tactics in the chess game and chopstick scene are brillant. If you're readin about this and haven't seen it...GO AND BUY OR RENT THIS MOVIE!! It's damn near perfect.

"Buddah Bless!"
The Buddhist Fist
Reply #7. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Dan
no, no, no, old school chinese-style funk is perfect for this film! Watch Dreadnought to hear more examples of this music. i loved this film, it had everything i never knew i wanted. who knew that "Buddha will save you from sin" was a kung fu move? Lu Chow Moo is my favorite hunchback mandarin assasin. i now know that a nice bowl of dog meat and some vintage rice wine will see me through the night.

"When we were young, we used to steal potatoes... Oh! Buddha bless us!"
The Buddhist Fist
Reply #8. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Ally L
In England this is often a trailer on the "Made in Hong Kong" films (e.g. the brilliant Chinese Ghost Story or the plain bonkers Mr Vampire). The trailer is superbly wierd, including a great scene where two guys climb all over each other, fighting and blocking as they go. Also, the clip in which one of the characters, halfway through a fight, pauses and yells, "But it's too late!" bears some scrutiny as it makes no sense whatsoever in the trailer.

Top notch. Also see the One armed boxer for the worst blacked up Indian I have ever seen.
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