Hong Kong Cinema

Spiritual Kung Fu

(Karate Ghostbusters)

  • Made: 1978
  • Format: DVD (Region 2)
  • Release Date: 22/10/01
  • Company: Eastern Heroes
  • Length: 85 mins
  • Picture: Widescreen - 16x9
  • Language: English
  • Extras: Interview, Trailers, Picture Gallery
  • Classification: 15


Lo Wei


Jackie Chan, Dean Shek, James Tien

Please find the Screen Comparison below in the Disc Section

This film was released only a couple of months after Drunken Master smashed the Hong Kong Box Office in 1978, although it was actually made before Snake in the Eagle's Shadow. It took an impressive $2,393,000 HK as it rode on the Jackie Chan fever that was gripping the East. This film was made alongside Dragon Fist and in many ways is the exact opposite. It has comedic and lighthearted touches, whilst lacking the intensity and violence of Dragon Fist. The directing was again by Lo Wei and is really pretty dismal in places, and one can only assume Lo was too busy checking on the horses on his wireless.



James Tien as the main bad guy


Dean Shek has a spooky encounter


Jackie Chan is a student at a monastery always getting in trouble, and being generally mischievous. Whilst this has happened, a ninja steals the Seven Fists booklet from the temple (so clearly Jackie dressed as a ninja!). James Tien acquires the book and is killing all the Wu-Tang warlords in order to become leader. At this point a comet hits the temple and the ghosts of the Five Animal styles appear in the scripture hall. It is probably worth mentioning that the comet is represented by a sparkler against a black cardboard back drop, with a few stars painted on it. This was in the same year as Star Wars!!

So Jackie is the only person who is not scared of ghosts so he spends some time in the temple and eventually is confronted by the ghosts = Women painted white with red wigs, each with a plastic animal on their head (Dragon, Snake, Tiger, Crane, Leopard) who teach him the five animal styles which can defeat the Seven Fists. The Wu-Tang leader visits the temple, is then killed and Jackie leaves the temple (only after taking the tests) and fights James Tien in the end fight, plus there is a small twist after that fight that I shall not spoil.


The special effects although dated and budgeted aren't actually that distracting or annoying and the ghosts are quite amusing at the end of the day. As noted, the directing is dreadful and doesn't make the film fun to watch in places. The fighting is reasonably frequent but so badly filmed it damages many of the best scenes. The highlight has to be Jackie's double tonfa scene versus the 18 Lo-Han monks (for his tests, to see whether he can leave the temple). The fight scenes, choreographed by Jackie, are amazingly technical and a joy to watch and are already showing that Jackie is one of the great weapons experts in Kung Fu (along with Sammo, Gordon Liu and Liu Chia-Liang). The end fight with James Tien is watchable and Jackie shows off his five animal styles, but this is clearly inferior to his later animal styles in Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master. It's not a bad movie with some high points, and genuinely original but the directing and the budget do not help this film


Again, this is cropped widescreen, which is poor and the picture is not as impressive as the restoration done on Dragon Fist. The extras are the same as for all the other movies in the Jackie Chan Collection and this is also presented in 5.1 Dolby. This should hopefully illustrate the difference between the original Widescreen and the new 16x9 presentation here. The bottom 10% of the screen is missing as the subtitles have been removed and sometimes fights can stray slightly off the screen.

Screen Comparison:

Cropped 'Newer' Version

Original Version


The staff and double tonfa scene in my view is really worth watching, but is very old skool, do not expect 90's fireworks, just really technical and flowing weapons work. I have already said enough about the directing and the print, but if you are not put off by the budget special effects, then this is certainly something different for your Kung Fu collection.




Jackie learns Spiritual Kung Fu

End Fight ahh...........

More End Fight ahhhhhh....