Hercules Against Karate / Schiaffoni e karate (1973)

2.5 out of 5

Percival, the titular "Hercules", and his friend Danny take a job tracking down a child in China after impressing the kid's father in a bar fight.

Fernando Bilbao, who plays Percival, and Alberto Terracina as his friend Danny pair up in this film like a lesser version of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. That's not to say that the film doesn't have its moments. The amusing plot finds the strong, but bumbling, Percival fumbling his way through fights and throwing puns and silly jokes as fast as fists. Though often groan inducing, i.e. villains named Hung Lo and Fah-ku, the silliness paired with every kung fu sound effect in existence made the film a satisfying piece of escapist nonsense. Even the shoehorned in romance sections don't bog the film down because there's always a joke lurking around the corner.

Director Antonio Margheriti had previously helmed a straight up sword and sandals Hercules movie and would go on to direct one of the best East meets West movies of all time, El kárate, el Colt y el imposter. With Schiaffoni e karate, he found a reasonable middle ground between the two and brought his eye for action to the proceedings. However, at nearly two hours,the mix of comedy and fistfights begins to wear toward the end of the film.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics