Set in 1934 Japanese occupied Korea, Hapkido starts with Yu Ying (Angela Mao), Kao Chang (Cater Wong) and Fan Wei (Sammo Hung, graduating from getting his ass kicked by Mao and being on the same side; he also choreographed the fights) trying to start a school where they can teach hapkido, a martial art that uses joint locks, grapples, throws, kicks and punches. Unfortunately, the Black Bear Gang — Japanese toughs — want to run them out of town and keep trying to trick them into fighting. This goes against the will of their master but eventually, enough is enough.

Released in the U.S. as Lady Kung Fu — and even replacing Enter the Dragon as the top film of the week during the week of September 19, 1972 and using the tagline “Here comes the unbreakable China doll who gives you the licking of your life!” — Hapkido also features early appearances by Biao Yuen, Corey Yuen and Jackie Chan. Ji Han-Je, who appears as the teacher, was the man that many consider the founder of hapkido. He also is in Game of Death with Lee.

As for the music — which is always a fun thing for me in Hong Kong cinema, as I love to see where it takes songs from — Emerson Lake and Palmer’s “Eruption” is the theme song!

Between the direction by Huang Feng and Hung’s skills at showing unarmed combat in movie form, Hapkido is absolutely stunning, filled with intense fights and high drama as Mao stands — almost — alone by the end of the film. She’s amazing and you completely buy every strike she unleashes on her hapless and outmatched foes, even if I wish she’d been the lone warrior to protect the honor of her fighting style.

Hapkido has been released by Arrow Video in a set with Lady Whirlwind. Both movies have brand new 2K restorations by Fortune Star, an illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing on the films by critic James Oliver and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady.

There are two commentary tracks, one by Frank Djeng and Robert “Bobby” Samuels and one by Frank Djeng and Michael Worth, a new interview with Mao, archival interviews with Mao, Carter Wong, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, a vintage featurette showing Ji Hanjae teaching the lead actors hapkido, three alternate opening credits, the Hong Kong theatrical trailer, the U.S. trailer, a TV commercial and an image gallery.

You can get this from MVD.

You can also stream this movie on the Arrow player. Visit ARROW to start your 30-day free trial. Subscriptions are available for $4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly. ARROW is available in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland on the following Apps/devices: Roku (all Roku sticks, boxes, devices, etc), Apple TV & iOS devices, Android TV and mobile devices, Fire TV (all Amazon Fire TV Sticks, boxes, etc), and on all web browsers at

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