Spiritual Kung Fu(1978)

Spiritual Kung Fu(1978)

Spiritual Kung Fu (拳精)is a 1978 Hong Kong action film directed by Lo Wei and starring Jackie Chan. The film also features Yuen Biao as the Master of the Five Fists. Chan was also the film's stunt co-ordinator. It was known in some releases as Karate Ghostbuster.

Along with Dragon Fist, Spiritual Kung Fu was filmed in early 1978. As Lo Wei's studio was running out of money, they shelved both films and Chan was loaned out to Seasonal Films for a 2 picture deal. Whilst there he made Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master with Yuen Woo-ping.The success of these two films at the domestic box office prompted Lo to give belated releases to Spiritual Kung Fu (late 1978) and Dragon Fist (1979).

Spiritual Kung Fu was Lo Wei's response to Chan's earlier attempt at blending comedy with kung fu in the film Half a Loaf of Kung Fu. The supernatural elements of the film were brought to life by some early examples of Hong Kong special effects. Much of the scripted comedy in the film centred on Chan's over-exaggerated facial expressions and reactions to his ghostly teachers.


Plot synopsis

Yi-Lang (Jackie Chan) is a smart-alec martial arts student at a Shaolin Temple. An anonymous thief steals a book from the library which teaches a potentially fatal style of Kung Fu. Yi-Lang, along with a group of five other monks, is punished for not stopping the thief, but his bravery leads to him signing up to defend a supposedly haunted portion of the school.

Upon discovering the ghosts, who are masters of a supposedly lost style of fighting known as The "Five Style Fists", Yi-Lang offers himself as a student, masters the form and uses it to progress quickly through the ranks of the school. In order to defend the school against the very thief who stole the book from its library, Yi-Lang demonstrates his new style and defeats the invading troup, with a little help from his five spiritual masters.


Kung fu style

The "Five Style Fists" kung fu style is based on the Five Fists (Animal) Pattern, one of the early Martial Arts practiced at the Shaolin Temple, as discussed in Qiu Yue Chan Shi's book "The Essence of the Five Fists". This system contains Dragon, Tiger, Snake, Crane and Leopard / Panther styles.

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