Director – Natuk Baytan (Eagle House, Aladdin’s Lamp)
Starring – Cuneyt Arkin (Burning, The Raid), Bahar Erdeniz (The Little Eye-Witness, Takip), and Charles Garret
Release Date – 1975
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 3/5
Tagline – “Blood and guts action – from start to finish”
When I was growing up I had a friend that loved kung-fu flicks. While I was renting horror flicks and shitty family movies like Air Bud and Space Jam he would often grab those 70s king-fu flicks that you would have seen as a double feature at the drive-in. I actually liked them as well but I didn’t obsess over them like he did. As I got older I started to appreciate them more and will toss them in from time to time. I’m especially fond of Brucesploitation.
Sometime ago AGFA released the Turkish kung-fu flick The Sword and the Claw which was originally released under the title Lion Man. After I started down the rabbit hole that is AGFA I had to toss this gem in. Thank you MVD for sending this one my way.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a man who was taken from his home as a child when his father, the king, is murdered by a man seeking to claim the throne for his own. He is raised by a pride of lions and has adapted to their ways which includes using his hands as deadly paws. Now he has returned to take back the throne that is rightfully his own and free his people from their tyrannical king. **Spoiler Alert**
You go into a kung-fu flick from the 70s expecting a certain level of cheese but this Turkish production took it to a whole new level. I laughed until it hurt while watching Bat Pussy but The Sword and the Claw had me on the ground hurting because I was laughing so hard.
The acting in this one is bad but it is the kind of bad that is still very enjoyable. Especially when you take the poor dubbing into consideration. the cast is extremely dramatic and the dubbing does not match the characters or scenarios at all. Some of the scenes had me fucking gasping for air after I watched the scene with the dubbing.
The story for this one is one you have seen in countless kung-fu films throughout the 70s but this time they add the Turkish touch to it. The kung-fu skilled man who is a mystery to those that encounter them who then using his skill to stop the film’s villain is nothing new but it does make for a very enjoyable film. It’s goofy as hell but so fucking satisfying.
Finally, this one has blood but its nothing you haven’t seen before. The kills are fast, often too quick to enjoy, with just blood splatter and no other practical effects. They fit the film and offer up even more unexpected laughs. Overall, The Sword and the Claw is another film you have to see to believe and the blu looks great from American Genre Film Archive. Check it out.
New 4K transfer from the only 35mm theatrical print in existence
Face-smashing action trailers from the AGFA vault
Bonus Movie: BRAWL BUSTERS (1981), a new 2K scan from an original theatrical print
Reversible cover art with illustration by Alexis Ziritt (SPACE RIDERS)