Lesson One in how to kick off a cult movie: dive straight into sex and violence. Wong Po-lin catches his wife in bed with Prince Tuan Zhengchun, notorious horn-dog and (unfortunately for Wong) master of the Yi Yang Finger. He shoots an energy beam from his fingers that chops Wong’s legs off. Wong retreats to his candy-coloured lair at the earth’s core (living next door to Blofeld, perhaps?) and plots revenge. Twenty years later, he targets the prince’s son, Tuan Yu (Danny Lee), a timid scholar with no knowledge of kung fu. While wandering the countryside, Tuan Yu meets happy-go-lucky, snake loving maiden, Zhong Ling-ehr (Lin Chen-chi) and the pair fall afoul of Wong’s henchmen, including a super-fast, killer hunchback with fangs, a giant claw and a steel head. More than cute, Ling-ehr proves super-cool and throws snakes as weapons that burrow through victims and explode their skulls! When things get really bad, she sends Tuan Yu to seek out mystical swordswoman Mu Wanqing (Tanny Tien Ni), who practices the Yi Yang finger and unfortunately, is known for killing every man she meets. However, she spares Tuan Yu’s life after he warns her of a bandit attack and he reciprocates when she is poisoned by a demon. Attacked by a magic snake, Tuan Yu kills the giant reptile by biting its throat. Swallowing the creature’s blood transforms him into a kung fu dynamo, but his plans to marry Wanqing are scuppered when Prince Tuan Zhengchun reveals who her father is. To make matters worse, Wong Po-lin arrives with his brand-new, extendable, metal chicken legs; captures Tuan Yu and Wanqing and sets in motion his ultimate plan: to feed them to his amazing, kung fu fighting ape!!
Ice-maiden Tanny Tien Ni is a little too remote to fully engage as Wanqing. Stealing the show is Lin Chen-chi as plucky snake-slinger, Ling-ehr. Always smiling, she’s the closest thing to a kooky hippie chick the martial arts genre has to offer. The appealing actress tangled with serpents before in Shaw Bros.’ fairytale fantasy The Snake Prince (1976), but really stood out as a terrifying anti-heroine in Tsui Hark’s Dangerous Encounters of the First Kind (1980). Fast paced, colourful and inventive (I haven’t mentioned Wanqing’s dinosaur bone that shoots laser beams or the magic frog that when swallowed renders someone invincible), this kung fu quickie utilizes props, optical and sound effects left over from Shaw’s earlier Super Infra-Man (1975), starring - you guessed it - Danny Lee.