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A Mogul king decides to take stealthy action to help overpower his greatest rivals. He chooses nine out thirteen of his loyal generals (who he treats as sons) to embark on the mission. However, jealously amongst them sparks a treacherous family feud that could lead to catastrophic consequences for all involved. Written by
The original Ni Kuang script had the Ti Lung character Shih Ching Szu drown off the bridge during the Stand at Peace River protecting his father Chief Li Ke Yung, whereby the Ku Feng character would be solely rescued by Li Tsun-hsiao played by David Chiang however director Chang Cheh intervened to have Shih tackle the rebel guards until the end before reinforcements arrive. See more »
Hong Kong swashbuckler with David Chiang and Ti Lung as Tartar princes
THE HEROIC ONES (1970) is a large-scale 2-hour historical costume adventure set at the time of the Tang Dynasty in which the 13 sons of Tartar King Id fight on the side of the Emperor against assorted rebels. Directed by Chang Cheh, it's less a kung fu film than a fast-paced swashbuckler with a higher body count than any similar Hollywood epic. King Id is played by frequent Shaw Bros. villain Ku Feng, while his two favorite sons are played by David Chiang and Ti Lung, who would pop up as a team in several later near-epics also directed by Chang.
The action centers around a campaign by the 13 sons to wipe out a rebel faction. The family is undermined, however, by treachery within the ranks when two of the sons, jealous of the 13th prince (David Chiang), make a secret alliance with a court member in league with the rebels. The twists and turns which follow culminate in a tragic and bloody ending. It's a spectacular, fabulous-looking production with a large cast, massive sets, lots of action and bloodshed, and a compelling story.
While they weren't the Shaw Bros. studio's greatest kung fu stars, Ti Lung and David Chiang were both agile, athletic and energetic, twirling their swords, lances and spears with great flourish and fervor, and making superhuman acrobatic leaps with the help of convenient stuntmen. Other familiar Shaw Bros. actors appear in smaller parts, including Billy Tang, Lily Li and strongman Bolo Yeung (who is subdued and captured by the slender David in one far-fetched encounter).
Be aware that subtitled prints have dramatic scenes and extended dance segments missing from the English-dubbed version, while the English-dubbed version has action scenes missing from the subtitled print.
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