"Devil's Mirror" - Great Action, Silly Story from Sun Chung
Sun Chung is one of the unsung heroes of the Shaw studios. While it can be argued that Sun Chung might have been the best action director at the Shaw studio, he never had a film with quite the story appeal of anything from Chang Cheh or Liu Chia Liang (with the exception of AVENGING EAGLE). This is his first film for the Shaws and it shows a surprising command of the craft for a first time effort.
The film has a number of weaknesses, namely the plot and the very poor wire work which contrasts to the excellent fight choreography. A fairly typical wuxia story is ramped up by the inclusion of the Jiuxian witch and her quest to possess the twin magic mirrors which will free the legendary "Fish Intestine" Sword from the golden tomb of Emperor Wu. A fairly brief bit of body double nudity and a remarkable amount of bloodletting stand in contrast to the juvenile proceedings of the film. If anything belies that this was a first directorial effort, it's the uncomfortable mix of silly fantasy kung fu with some intense battle scenes that are a signature of Sun Chung's later work.
The film moves along at a fast pace so it's entertaining despite the drawbacks.
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