Daggers 8 (1980)
I misspent most Saturdays in my youth glued to kung fu marathons, a staple of the burgeoning cable TV explosion of the 80s. DAGGERS 8 takes me right back to that sweet spot. The extraordinary Wilson Tong wrote directed and stars as the titular more-than-8 dagger-toting villain. It’s a lean, no-nonsense affair with an inventive and non-stop array of acrobatic kung fu techniques with an affable hero you simply just want to hang out with.
DAGGERS 8 begins with Chy Chi Chong (Man Yuen Men, THE MASTER STRIKES) bored with school but in love with kung fu. When grandpa burns all of his kung fu gear, he bids farewell to the scholastic life and sets out to wander the countryside looking for kung fu teachers. He first teams up with a noodle-maker who strengthens his fingers with three months of stretch and fold noodle-making techniques. Next up he finds himself under the wing of an acrobat, giving his new technique lots of aerial panache. And finally he finds himself the first ever man to master “woman’s touch” kung fu, accomplished via montages of rapidly threading needles, spinning wool and drying clothes. None of his apprenticeships last too long, however, as there is a dagger-laden assassin intent on scrubbing the country of kung fu masters.
Crack open a beer or two, or as I did in my youth, treat yourself to endless bowls of fruit loops, sit back and enjoy some grade-A old-school kung fu popcorn.
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