When Iron Robe signals his distress flare (just before his fight with Hai Toh), fishing line can clearly be seen suspending the lit flare in mid-air. See more »
Swordsman Li Chin-Ming:
[challenging Golden Arm]
Get your weapon!
I already have mine. That's my arms. Your sword's good, I'll admit. Still, if you should lose it... you're finished. But my arms, they always stay with me.
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Like the other venoms films, this one's dodgy and maybe a little overpraised, but somehow I can't deny it. It's so humorlessly bloodthirsty it gets hilarious; nothing but reputation, ego, and one-upsmanship the entire movie. Characterization is practically thrown out the window entirely (besides the broadest strokes--the two sadistic, gleeful killers, the headstrong honorable guy, etc.) to allow for the purest expression of these themes. And you know what? You don't really need to be told about the personality of this armored, bearded guy with a steel plate on his head to get what he's about.
You have to remember this stuff is an evolution of Chinese opera. John Woo is sometimes considered Chang Cheh's spiritual successor with his "heroic bloodshed" thing, but in a way, they're total opposites; Woo is all heart & fluid brotherly touchy-feeliness beneath the bloodshed, and Cheh embodies rigid, unfeeling patriarchy.
Like the Venoms' eponymous film, the narrative arc sorta comes off as a soap opera grasping for Shakespearean depth, and you're urged to suss things out as it goes along. You begin distrusting most of the characters to an extent, and it's only after the last splash of blood you really get the full picture, and the film comes together as something more than a jazzed up kill-fest with the vaguest semblance of a plot. So again, Golden Arm is a very flawed film no matter how you look at it, but it's likely to be misunderstood by modern audiences who believe in things like democracy and women's rights.
Anyway, it's a grower. Really. Marinate in its transcendental implications for a while.
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