One two do the kung fuLightning-fast moves, uncanny tricks, kids picking up on a craze hip-first and sparking a frisson of establishment fear – no surprise that the song cashing in on the Kung Fu fad was a disco one. Of course Carl Douglas in his headband looks like a big jolly bear, and the track’s been long embraced as a beloved novelty, but it wouldn’t have got that far if there hadn’t been a genuine sense of wonder – and kinship – in the famous chorus. You could argue that “Kung Fu Fighting”, more than the Kung Fu series itself, set a long-term tone for Western reception of martial arts – less a mix of spirituality and violence, more the wide-eyed (though still enormously impressive) foolery of Jackie Chan. “It’s an ancient Chinese art”, handwaves Douglas before getting down to boogie-ing business. The balance has recently tipped back, of course – for my tastes there is not enough disco in the beauty-soaked Crouching Tiger school of Serious Fu, though as long as Stephen Chow films are finding an audience here the spirit of Carl Douglas lives on.

Score: 7

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