9th Old School Kung Fu Fest: Mystery of Chessboxing (1979)

The Old School Kung Fu Fest is back and the Museum of the Moving Image and Subway Cinema will co-present eight newly restored films and one fan favorite classic by Kuo on glorious 35mm. Four titles will be available exclusively online, December 6–13, and another five films for in-person big-screen viewing at MoMI, December 10–12. 

To see any of these shows, visit the Museum of the Moving Image online or Subway Cinema.

Ah Pao wants to learn kung fu for a very important reason: He must his father’s death at the hands of the man known as the Ghost Faced Killer, who in turn in hunting down different leaders, throwing down his ghost face killing plate and then murdering them with his five elements style.

“The game of chess is like a sword fight
You must think first before you move
Toad style is immensely strong and immune to nearly any weapon
When it’s properly used it’s almost invincible”

Ah Pao finally makes his way to The Chang Sing School yet he discovers another layer of struggle, as he’s bullied by every older student. Yet it’s the school’s cook who teaches him some moves after challenging him to steal one piece of rice from his bowl and Ah Pao cheating to get it. Yet even the moves that he’s taught, the cook says, will never be enough. The Ghost Faced Killer is unstoppable to the point that even by owning his symbol, Ah Pao has marked everyone in the school for death.

Yet perhaps chess master Chi Sue Tin — an old enemy of the Ghost Faced Killer — may be the one who can teach our hero everything he knows — the chess boxing kung fu and the strategic link between the game and the martial art. Finally, when faced with the most powerful fighter in the world, Ah Pao and Chi Sue Tin team up using double horse style to challenge the man who has haunted both of their lives.

I mean, the Ghost Faced Killer walks in a room, laughs, throws down a personalized plate and then kills everyone in his path. That takes guts and style and man, we should all look to this villain and take away the good parts of what he did and add them to our lives.

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