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Unusual Martial World film tries something different
Another period Chinese film about martial artists battling for the rank of number 1. How is Shen Hua the obscure director of the legendary "Super Inframan" going to shake up the genre?
First of all, this film is very unlike other Shaw films. Shen Hua had a distinct visual style going here, one that doesn't really work all the times but is interesting. There are many shots with the main characters somewhere behind a lot of foreground clutter. Trying to read the subtitles and find the characters at the same time can make this a tad difficult to watch. Also Shen Hua's direction tends to hide Tang Chia's expert choreography. There is an attempt to use zooms and quick cuts to accentuate the dramatic dialog which is a very interesting concept but can be dizzying to watch.
Despite the directorial problems, the story is one of the better entries in the martial world genre. It's unusual although you might guess some of the surprises. Ti Lung and Ku Feng give great performances and the fight scenes are very good. There is a small amount of nudity, a strange sex scene and a rape by the good guy (!).
An eight for the story and a six for the direction. Recommended.
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