The Yang family was the loyal strong-arm of the Imperial army. But a jealous General betrays the Eilte Spearman and their father to the opposing Mongol army. After an ambush of a battle, ... See full summary »
An evil gang attacks the Chi school of Golden Sword Kung Fu. One student sacrifices his life to save his teacher and his school, his dying wish is that his son be taken in as a student. ... See full summary »
A Chinese man (Liu) marries a Japanese woman through an arranged marriage and manages to insult all of her Japanese martial arts family by issuing a challenge to her that is misinterpreted ... See full summary »
A young martial artist seeks revenge on the Ninja who kills his martial arts brothers and teacher. He finds help in the form of a new teacher (who knows Ninjitsu) and new brothers. Together... See full summary »
Shaolin Mantis (Orig. Tang lang) is a 1978 Shaw Brothers film directed by Lau Kar-leung. Starring David Chiang and Liu Chia Hui. Shaolin Mantis tells the story of a man who learns martial arts by observing a praying mantis.
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 »
Another Shaw Brothers Classic: Ming Rebels against Mongol Fighters
During the Mongol reign of China in the 13th century, six sworn brothers of the oppressed Ming loyalists plan a rebellion against the tyranny. When two of them are brutally killed in their daring attempt to assassinate the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan, the remaining four fighters band together to take revenge. But they do not have the upper hand since the Emperor is surrounded by three of his best fighters: Daidalu (played by Liang Chia-jen or popularly known as "Beardy"), who possesses the Fiery Palm technique that instantly kills any opponent who sustains his swift blow, a double-sword wielding fighter who kills by dismembering his opponent's armpits named Abulabha (Gordon Liu) and the arm-locking and waist-breaking wrestler Duilitan (Johnny Wang Lung Wei).
Before the four rebels can execute their plan to defeat their much-skilled rivals, they decide to undergo arduous training in special kungfu techniques: Fu Sheng with the Iron Palm technique - which makes him able to release fatal blows through his inner strength, Kuo Chui with the Leaping Kick technique - which makes him able to somersault in the air and land mortal kicks, Yen-tsan Tang with the Super Strength technique - which makes him able to release extraordinary strength to defeat his opponents, and Chi Kuan-chin with the Bamboo Twisting technique - which makes him invulnerable to sword attacks and arrow shots but for one weak spot. Since the Mongols have banned all sorts of kungfu training throughout the country, the four rebels have no other option but to practice secretively under their teacher's guidance only in the small hours for months.
Marco Polo, who has been assigned as a viceroy by the Mongol emperor with a priority to thwart these Chinese rebels, eventually sides with the rebellion. When the three Mongol fighters and their troops, with Polo's lead, have located and surrounded the rebels' hideout, they realize that they are facing a fearful four-man army who is prepared for anything that comes their way. The inevitable one-on-one blood-for-blood duel ensues, culminating in a life-and-death showdown that would decide the fate of the four heroes and their force of rebellion.
This is not a biopic of the famous Italian explorer. This is a 1975 Shaw Brothers mega-production that incorporates few facts but a lot of fiction into an exciting kungfu extravaganza, which was meant to attract wider international audience by casting American actor Richard Harrison as the title character. Those expecting to see a film on Marco Polo that is historically accurate will be sorely disappointed.
The title itself, in my opinion, is rather misleading as the film does not portray the life of Marco Polo himself. A more appropriate title should be: THE FOUR ASSASSINS, which is actually the alternate title, MARCO POLO AND THE FOUR ASSASSINS, or MARCO POLO AND THE FOUR REBELS.
Despite that, if you are familiar with a Shaw Brothers film, you will see exciting kungfu training and fighting of the four characters. Unlike the weak fight sequences in HEROES TWO (1974), those seen here are surprisingly well-choreographed, which elevate the tension during the climactic fights.
All in all, THE FOUR ASSASSINS comes recommended for those who enjoy watching solid kungfu flicks of the 70's - Shaw Brothers style!
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