9th Annual Old School Kung Fu Film Fest: Joseph Kuo Edition – 7 Grandmasters (1977)

I was able to check out one last film at the 9th Annual Old School Kung Fu Film Fest that is screening at the Museum of the Moving Image, and presented in conjunction with Subway Cinema, and that was Kuo’s 7 Grandmasters!

Featuring a sharp and clean 2K restoration, of the four films I’ve seen for the festival, this comes down firmly as my favorite. It’s bright, colorful, features some great location work (shooting outside saved on the budget), and the fight choreography, and the way it was shot gives everything a frenetic and kinetic energy, sweeping up the audience in its action sequences.

Jack Long is Master Sang. He’s old, tired, and instead of celebrating his life, he’s just been called out to prove the title of Champion. With his daughter, Ming (Nancy Yen) and his three students in tow, he makes the rounds to confront seven masters to prove that he is in fact the best there is.

There journey is interrupted by the arrival of a naïve, and innocent young man, Siu Ying (Yi-Min Li). He wants to train with Master Sang, it seems his father was murdered, but he won’t be told who killed him until his kung fu skills are strong enough to avenge him.

His fellow students are less than impressed when their Master agrees to train him, and in fact, they all seem like tools until they realize, the boy actually has some skills.

Wrapped up in this is a missing instruction manual, that Sang has part of, and someone else, surprise, surprise, the villain of the piece – and the very person who sent Siu Ying to follow Sang.

The fight sequences are wonderfully executed, though Nancy Yen is drastically underused. Everything shines in the film, even the fairly thin story. It’s just such a great romp. The styles, and the names of the moves can elicit smiles and cheers, and we want to see how the story plays out for everyone involved, and we know it’s going to be ass-kickery all around.

Kuo’s style is wonderfully on display in this film, and this one is just pure popcorn fun. If you get the chance to take in any of these titles, for those of you who live in New York, or visiting it, check out the Museum of the Moving Image down in Queens.

If you’re not in NYC, check out this link anyway, because there are virtual screenings to be had as well. So you can stay in the comfort of your own home, settle in with the popcorn, beverage of your choice, and then watch some great old school king fu action on your big screen at home.

Check out the 9th Annual Old School Kung Fu Film Fest – I personally can’t wait to see what they do with it next year!

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