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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Enter The Invinceable Hero
Enter The Invinceable Hero
Ground Zero // Unrated // February 27, 2001
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Hkflix]
Review by J. Doyle Wallis | posted October 18, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Plot: The villagers are transporting a cartload of money, a tribute-payment to the Emperor, when they are suddenly attacked by a group of bandits, the leader of whom has the double affectation of an eyepatch and a hunchback (At this point you can say to yourself, "Well, even if this is a bad movie at least I can say, 'I saw a hunchback kung fu'."). The cache should have protected because the villagers hired Master Wu's men to guard it. So, when the village leader, Master Lee, goes to Master Wu and tries to get their money back. Wu staunchly refuses any compensation, and besides the fact that he wears a weird funky medallion and has a exaggerated 'outie' belly-button, Master Wu is not a man to be trifled with. Luckily, the wealthy Pang (Casanova Wong- Warriors Two), who lives outside of town bails out the villagers.

Now, our Invincible Hero, Ti Ming (Dragon Lee- Dragon's Claws, Superfist, Martial Monks of the Shaolin Temple) comes to town seeking a job, but Master Lee turns him down. So, after a scuffle with Wu's men at a restaurant, Ti Ming returns to Master Lee's only to find Master Lee being attacked by bandits. After saying "You have drawn your last breathe", Ti Ming beats them easily, gaining him favor, but still no employment, with Master Lee. However, the oddly belly-buttoned and shady Master Wu was impressed enough with Ti Ming to hire him as a escort guard. While escorting another shipment, the bandits attack again, and Ti Ming basically takes on the sword wielding, Iron Bellied, hunchback lead gang all by his lonesome. But, he still loses the money, and since it was his responsibility to protect it, he must now pay it back or suffer the consequences at the hands of Master Wu. He is told the only help he can get is from the rich Pang, and the only way to get Pang to pay the debt, is submit a life of servitude and hope Pang accepts.

It turns out, Pang is a long lost friend of Ti Ming, both trained under the same Master, but Pang was too revenge filled and turned away by the sifu. Over the years, Pang fought and fought, until he supposedly, realized the folly of his ways and cut off his own hand in order to stop himself from fighting and then focused on becoming rich. Pang agrees to pay Ti Ming's debt, but Ti Ming wants the money to go to the villagers first. But, all is not what it seems, and Pang and Master Wu have a deal going on, ripping off the poor villagers. Master Wu intercepts the payment, and he and Ti Ming tussle, which results in one of the more weird displays of villain defeat, as Ti Ming rips out Master Wu's belly-button and umbilical remnant, killing him. But, there is still the evil Pang to deal with, who is not crippled at all, but possessing fingers so strong the calluses are like stone. Will Ti Ming's new punching style, so precise he can punch water without it splashing, be enough to defeat the bandits, Pangs muscle-bound henchmen, and Pang's deadly hand? If you don't know the answer, you haven't seen very many kung fu movies.

Conclusion: Enter the Invincible Hero (1977) is a fair low budget kung fu effort. Director Godfrey Ho (Eagle Vs Silver Fox, Grandmaster of Shaolin, Champ Against Champ ) carved out a career of many such clunky but entertaining films. It has your kung fu standards, the backstabbing, a romantic subplot, the confident hero, but nothing particularly awe inspiring, or more than just average about the proceedings. The fights are all pretty fair, with Casanova Wong's two scenes being highlights, in the first he does ten spin kicks in a row with no tricks, just his natural ability. It has a nice assortment of bad guys, though the "Invincible" nature of our hero makes all, except for Casanova Wong, easy pickings. Disappointing especially, is the fight with the two Lou Ferrigno looking henchmen which is slow and clumsy. The films low budget is obvious by the frequent reuse of locales- the same field for the two bandit attacks, the bridge between the town and Pang's place, so you know it was a quickly filmed, modest affair.

In what most fans call, the 'Bruceploitation' genre when Bruce Lee's death spawned a series of hauntingly lookalike stars-imitators, like Bruce Li, Bruce Le, and Bruce Li Zine,. Enter the Invincilbe Hero star, Dragon Lee sets himself apart from the pack by way of his muscular frame and hard-featured face; he looks like you cross-bred Bruce Lee with a pitbull. He apes Lee's style with some cocky looks, the wipe blood from your mouth and grin move, and screams and furious fight expressions, but Dragon Lee, despite the unoriginality, is still a good lead. The genre itself has always sort of creeped me out and I avoided it like the plague for a long time, because it was just too strange; however, there are some good films in the bunch. And, while I wont say Enter the Invincible Hero is great, if you are like me have cringed at 'Bruceploitation' films, you should at least know that Dragon Lee is an entertaining enough star, his musculature making him a little less Brucey, and Enter the Invincible Hero is a decent enough example of his work.

DVD Quality: Ground Zero presents a lackluster transfer, which is a serious fan only DVD, or maybe a rental. Picture- A vhs or tape master is nothing new to old school kung fu fans, and it (because of the strange world of HK licensing) is sometimes the only source available for whomever makes the transfer. However, you must make sure you have a good master to duplicate from, and sadly this isn't the case with Enter the Invincible Hero. The fullscreen picture has the softness, washed out color, and general wear of an older film, but what really mars it most are the vhs tracking/wear and tear lines which unfortunately pop up for a few seconds obscuring the fights. Now, I can forgive a lack of color, blackness depth, and sharpness, but I cant forgive lines, no matter how brief, over my kung fu fighting. At best you are buying a very worn tape, transferred to DVD, and that would be something only for those who are diehard fans, or anyone with a spare $9 burning a hole in their pocket. Sound- 2.0 mono English dub, with the standard dubbing cheesiness, little distortion or hiss here and there, but nothing horrible. Extras- 13 Chapter stops. Bonus fight scene, two and a half minutes, film unspecified (but it was cool). Trailers for Gangstresses, Blazin, and a Ground Zero/Wu Tang Kung Fu Classics commercial. And finally, an intro to the film by Wu Tang member Rza and a Wu Tang music video.

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