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Kung Fu - King of the Mountain

USA 1972
produced by
Warner Brothers/ABC
directed by Jerry Thorpe
starring David Carradine, Brandon Cruz, Lara Parker, John Saxon, Philip Ahn, Keye Luke, Ken Lynch, Mills Watson, Radames Pera, Robert F. Hoy, Mark Allen, Ivy Bethune, Gary McLarty, Paul Harper, Larry Finley
written by Herman Miller

TV-Series
Kung Fu, Kwai Chang Caine

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Walking the plains, Kwai-Chang Caine (David Carradine) meets Peter (Brandon Cruz), a young boy whose parents have been killed by Indians, and offers to take him to the next village, where the boy has family. At first, the boy is mighty grateful of course, but when he witnesses Caine unable or unwilling to defend their food against two crooked prospectors, his fascination for the man fades, and once in the village, he is happy to exchange him for his uncle, aunt and cousins he has never even met ... but soon the boy learns his loving family is only after his parents' money the boy doesn't even know about. Soon, uncle and aunt figure it must have been the Chinaman who took the money, and the whole family attacks Caine - but now that not merely his food but his life is at stake, Caine has no inhibitions proving his martial arts abilities, and he beats the whole family to a pulp, getting back into favour with the boy again.

Eventually, Caine is hired by Amy (Lara Parker) as a farmhand, and she even agrees to take in Peter as well and eventually falls in love with Caine, who also develops tender feelings towards her - but then a bounty hunter (John Saxon) has tracked down Caine (who's a wanted man after all), and he plays cat-and-mouse with his prey for a while until Caine challenges him to a fight, and defeats him of course, even though the bounty hunter is armed. In the end, the bounty hunter even falls off a cliff to his death - but Caine figures, if he stays with Amy and the kid, other bounty hunters will come, and will eventually threaten the lives of those he loves - and thus he decides to wander on alone.

 

A pretty muddled first (regular) episode of the quite popular series Kung Fu: It starts out pretty much like Shane, but then several subplots (the crooked prospectors, the boy's greedy family, the love story) are introduced into the story and abandoned rather at will without any rhyme or reason, until the bounty hunter-showdown is pretty much pulled out of the hat to bring the story to an end and get Caine on the road again. In all, despite the presence of David Carradine and John Saxon not really worth watching.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
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