I wasn't impressed by this one--it seemed indifferently made and clearly not up to the usual Shaw Brothers standards.
This film begins with one of the dumber decisions in martial arts history. A man's wife has been unfaithful and has plotted to kill her husband. However, the apparently stupid husband learns about this and confronts her. What would a sane person do in his case? Well, not what he does! He tells her she must drink poison and then leaves her with free run of the household since she pinky sword to killer herself. Not surprisingly, she then tries to poison him and her lover's men soon attack!! However, the dumb guy manages to escape thanks to a faithful servant. As I said, the man is pretty dumb, giving the wicked lady poison and assuming she'll do the honorable thing and off herself! What we have here is a very dumb guy--but also a very interesting black widow of a woman!
Years have passed. The dumb man has raised a pretty young daughter, Xiaoyan. However, because he is dumb, he tells the girl her mother is dead. Sticking by his goal of staying dumb, even when she meets her mother (who now runs a brothel), he doesn't tell her that his mother is a madame nor that she is murderous. Instead, the mother plies her daughter with compliments and gifts--all in an attempt to turn her own daughter into a prostitute. At any point, Dad could have said something like 'she is an evil skank who tried to murder me'--but he doesn't. Instead, he yells at Xiaoyin and drives her towards her evil mother by his confusing behavior. Only after Xiaoyin is drugged and nearly raped does she realize that Mom MIGHT not be all that nice and she escapes her evil clutches and returns to Dad.
Eventually, the dumb guy tells his daughter the truth and she realizes she has one and only one alternative--seek out all the men who destroyed her father's life 20 years earlier. And, considering that she and her boyfriend are amazing with the sword, you wonder why he didn't tell her sooner. Oh, yeah...he was too dumb to do that. And so Xiaoyin and her beau go on an amazing killing spree--complete with lots of wire-fu, fake blood and decent action sequences. However, no matter how good the fighting is, the plot itself is a bit thin, some of the special effects are really bad* and this cannot be ranked among the better martial arts films from the Shaw Brothers Studio--especially since most of the action doesn't even occur until the second half of the film. Even the big twist near the end isn't enough to save this one. On the plus side, at least you get to see Dad chuck some chopsticks into people's faces. On balance, it's among the lesser offerings from this studio and you can certainly do a lot better. Still, if you are a die-hard martial arts film fanatic, it's worth a look.
Bad effects include a very fake beheading, a fire scene where the background was clearly rear projected onto a screen (complete with ripply seams to let the audience know it was all very fake) and some crappy miniature sets.
By the way, one important lesson I did learn from this film: too much kung fu can make you impotent!!
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