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. ... See full summary »
The Kung-Fu Instructor was director Sun Cheng's homage to Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo where Ti Lung plays a righteous weapon instructor. It's the first time a Shaw Brother's director uses a ... See full summary »
Leaving the poverty of his life in Shantung to seek fortune in Shanghai, The Boxer is instead drawn into a world of corruption, gang warfare and evil... Where his only protection is his famed fighting technique.
A couple unite - she is fluent in the crane style of kung fu, he in tiger style. They have a son, but the boy's father is killed by the evil eunuch Bai Mei. Disguised as a girl, his mom ... See full summary »
The 4 Seasons Brothel is run by a ruthless madam, Lady Chun Yi. Countless young girls have been kidnapped or bought and then sold into a life of servitude and prostitution here. Ai Nu, an ... See full summary »
Chi Ming-sing is a former disciple of a gang run by overlord Yoh Xi-hung. Yoh's disciples hunt Chi relentlessly as he travels on a soul-searching journey. He comes to the aid of a seemingly... See full summary »
Director Chang Cheh reunites the Five Venoms in his second biggest cult hit in the West. It's Lo Meng's most memorable performances whose showdown with fellow Venom Kuo Chue is artistically violent while being graphically artsy.
SEVEN SOLDIERS OF KUNG FU is a direct sequel to SEVEN BLOWS OF THE DRAGON (1973), an epic about the 108 Warriors of Chinese legend (and the book, 'Water Margin'), an outlaw band who fought on the side of the people against corrupt officials. Here the 108 are pardoned by the Emperor and assigned to go after a rebel army encamped at a fortress in Hangchow. Seven volunteers enter the fortress as spies to try and find a way for the Emperor's army to gain entrance. When one of their number, the blustery ill-tempered Black Whirlwind (Fan Mei-Sheng), starts a fight and alerts the guards to their presence, the fortress is sealed up and escape is blocked. Only one man (star David Chiang) manages to flee and get the plans back to the army. Another member of the team hides near the underwater gate to let the army ships through the only available entrance once the attack begins.
The plot sounds better than it actually plays out. There's a lot of clutter that distracts from the story. Until the final battle nothing quite moves the way it ought to. The camera-work relies too much on zooming and panning. Still, the film is shot on all those magnificent Shaw Bros. sets, including the famous bridge overlooking Kowloon's Clearwater Bay. There are a lot of clever scenes, an exciting final battle, and a fairly interesting cast led by early 1970s Shaw Bros. stalwarts David Chiang, Ti Lung and Chen Kuan Tai and including the comical heavyweight Fan Mei-Sheng as Black Whirlwind. Yang Sze (aka Bolo Yeung, from ENTER THE DRAGON) plays one of the rebels who fights David Chiang in one key scene. Japanese actor Tetsuro Tamba returns briefly from the first film.
It's not as good as SEVEN BLOWS... but it's worth seeing by fans of early 70s swordplay kung fu. The tape viewed toned down the bloodshed in the fight scenes by turning the film to a sepia tint during those scenes.
ADDENDUM (May 11, 2010): Since I did the above review, both SEVEN BLOWS OF THE DRAGON and SEVEN SOLDIERS OF KUNG FU have come out on Region 3 DVD from Celestial Pictures in their restored, uncut Hong Kong versions under their original titles, THE WATER MARGIN and ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS, respectively. (THE WATER MARGIN has also come out on R1 DVD, from Image Entertainment.) Seeing ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS uncensored in its original widescreen aspect ratio, and in its original language, made me appreciate the film a lot more than I did when watching it on a bootleg VHS back in 2001. And it's especially good when watching it right after THE WATER MARGIN. (I also recommend the book on which both films are based, "The Water Margin," aka "All Men Are Brothers," aka "Outlaws of the Marsh.") In the original draft of my review, I neglected to single out Lily Ho's vigorous performance here. At the time, I'd seen her in very few movies, but have seen her in many since and consider her one of the great Shaw Bros. actresses. She could play contemporary career girls, secret agents, period courtesans and fighting femmes, all with great flourish. This was her last film appearance; she retired thereafter.
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