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Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe Movie Poster
Plot, Details & Awards

Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe

R In Theaters 08/7/2005 , 98min.
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Plot & Details

Director Mario Caiano, best known for the gorgeous horror film Amanti d'Oltretomba, made eleven Westerns in his career, but none as strange as this one. Perhaps it might help some to recall that the TV-series Kung Fu was enjoying great popularity at around the same time employing a similar East-meets-West theme. This film is much more grim and bloody, however, as it tells the tale of a Chinese man (Chen Lee) who travels to San Francisco in 1882. Looking for a better life, all he finds is scum -- racists, perverts, slavers, greedy conmen and mercenaries. Naturally, the gentle mystic must fight to find inner peace. Lee's major weapon -- aside from knives and lethal yo-yos -- is a devastating punch that rams all the way through his opponents' bodies. But that isn't the half of it. A cardshark gets his eyes gouged out in revolting detail, people are beaten to bloody pulp, and the villain of the piece (Klaus Kinski in a fascinating performance) is Scalper Jack, a mincing, sadistic bounty-hunter who tortures and skins his victims alive. A depressing and violent film, this exercise in bloodletting is powerful stuff and well-acted by a veteran cast including Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Claudio Undari and Gordon Mitchell, who also appeared in Caiano's Erik IL Vichingo. Adalberto Albertini made an unfortunate comic sequel the following year with Kinski (in a different role) and Lee.

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