Invincible Armour is one of those films that helps paint the above picture for me. The style of our main villain and eventually one of our heroes is the invincible armour or ‘Iron Shirt’ style, which makes attack on any part of the body useless – as if striking solid steel (or Iron?).
There is one hitch, as explained in the very first minutes of the movie, development of this style leads to one weak point which can still be struck and harmed.
But really this all pretty minor. The movie is actually about General Chow, played by John Liu. Chow meets a powerful fighter on the street and introduces him to the leader of the Ming rebels. But when things are quite, during a sparring a session, this fighter kills the Ming leader and makes a hasty exit – framing Chow!
So Chow avoids arrest and declares that he will bring back the real killer. Meanwhile the killer has problems of his own, especially with Chow on his tail – who also happens to have guys after him for evading capture. So naturally shit hits the fan and they’re lots of cool kung fu battles as this little chase upon a chase unfolds.
So where does Invincible Armor fit in?
Well whilst on the run Chowmeets a young boy and his sister and learns the Invincible Armor style. Also, the main villain and (spoiler) man behind the killing of the rebel leader is a master of the Invincible Armor technique.
So while the movie is more about the chase, betrayal and fights etc – the style of iron shirt or invincible armour is what the final climax seems to revolve around as our heroes try to defeat this almost unbeatable opponent.
This whole theme is pretty small, and the rest of the movie is just a nice, simple action film full of pursuit and action. With the twists and turns this film is done quite well – although the version I got my hands on was pretty pathetic quality, I still enjoyed it.
The Action & Martial Arts
The martial arts was a bit better than I expected! John Liu’s kicks defintiely sold and looked far more technical than most filmed back in the day. With a good balance of action and story, this is one of the better 70’s Hong Kong action flicks.
There are plenty of fights and plenty of different fighters, but the style seems to be mostly the same in terms of movement and pace. Overall the quality is high, and the fact that you’re not entirely sure what’s going to happen still makes it pretty entertaining. There’s even a young Yuen Biao in one of the later fights!
I’ve always found iron shirt style martial arts films funny – they always have to focus on striking the groin usually with the fighter being unharmed, followed by a cheesy laugh.
A little cheap but a classic for sure! Decent story and decent action, a nice addition to any collection and good watch!
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
The Invincible Armour [DVD]