Spiritual Kung Fu

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Spiritual Kung Fu
SpiritualKungFu DVDcover.jpg
UK DVD cover
Directed byLo Wei
Produced byLo Wei
Written byPan Lei
StarringJackie Chan
James Tien
Dean Shek
Yuen Biao
Music byFrankie Chan
CinematographyChan Wing-Shu
Edited byVincent Leung
Distributed byLo Wei Motion Picture Company
Release date
23 November 1978 (1978-11-23)
Running time
97 mins
CountryHong Kong

Spiritual Kung Fu (Chinese: 拳精) (Quan Jing) is a 1978 Hong Kong action martial arts film directed and produced by Lo Wei, and starring Jackie Chan and James Tien. The film also features Yuen Biao as one of the Master of the Five Fists. Chan was also the film's stunt co-ordinator. It was known in some releases as Karate Ghostbuster.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Yi-Lang (Jackie Chan) is a smart-alec martial arts student at a Shaolin Temple. An anonymous thief steals a book from the library which teaches a potentially fatal style of Kung Fu. Yi-Lang, along with a group of five other monks, is punished for not stopping the thief, but his bravery leads to him signing up to defend a supposedly haunted portion of the school.

Upon discovering the ghosts, who are masters of a supposedly lost style of fighting known as The "Five Style Fists", Yi-Lang offers himself as a student, masters the form and uses it to progress quickly through the ranks of the school. In order to defend the school against the very thief who stole the book from its library, Yi-Lang demonstrates his new style and defeats the invading troup, with a little help from his five spiritual masters.



Along with Dragon Fist, Spiritual Kung Fu was filmed in early 1978. As Lo Wei's studio was running out of money, they shelved both films due to cost-cutting measures and Chan was loaned out to Seasonal Films for a two picture deal. Whilst there he made Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master with Yuen Woo-ping.[1] The success of these two films at the domestic box office prompted Lo to give belated releases to Spiritual Kung Fu (late 1978) and Dragon Fist (1979).[2]

Spiritual Kung Fu was Lo Wei's response to Chan's earlier attempt at blending comedy with kung fu in the film Half a Loaf of Kung Fu. The supernatural elements of the film were brought to life by some early examples of Hong Kong special effects. Much of the scripted comedy in the film centred on Chan's exaggerated facial expressions and reactions to his ghostly teachers.

Kung fu style[edit]

The "Five Style Fists" kung fu style is based on the Five Fists (Animal) Pattern, one of the early Martial Arts practiced at the Shaolin Temple, as discussed in Qiu Yue Chan Shi's book "The Essence of the Five Fists". This system contains Dragon, Tiger, Snake, Crane and Leopard / Panther styles.

Box office[edit]

During its Hong Kong theatrical run, Spiritual Kung Fu grossed HK $2,397,558.


  • The film was made with the intention of releasing in Mandarin in early 1978 but shelved. Prior to its belated theatrical release late that year, a Cantonese soundtrack and some small edits were made. It wasn't until 1980 that the film was finally given a release with the original Mandarin soundtrack.
  • Two Chinese versions of the film have surfaced to date. The most notable difference is during a scene depicting temple duty. In one version (synced in accordance with the Mandarin soundtrack), Yi-Lang is knocked unconscious with an attack to the back of the neck. In the other version (synching with the Cantonese soundtrack), he is knocked out with poison from a burning joss stick; this has caused issues on home video due to mismatched audio/visual.
  • The Korean theatrical version contains a completely different opening.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jackie Chan". Biography. Ng Kwong Loong (JackieChanMovie.com). Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  2. ^ "Randomhouse.com". I Am Jackie Chan - Filmography. Retrieved 17 October 2008.

External links[edit]