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Talky and moderately convoluted, this lesser "Venom" film has moments that will make a Shaw fan reasonably happy.
Phillip Kuo once again carries another Chang Cheh production with his charm and remarkable acrobatic expertise. This time he plays a cocky martial art clan member, Iron Panther who along with his training brother Iron Monkey (Sheng Chiang) delights in tormenting members of the rival clan who indulge in immoral things like running a gambling parlor and brothel. His trouble making leads to an ambush where his clan master is killed. To protect the clan his elder brother, played by Lu Feng, bribes the police and sends Iron Panther far away until the furor dies down. In the middle of this is a mysterious stranger, the White Robed Rambler (say that fast), who wields a curious set of short spears. This being a rather typical kung fu drama, there are a number of betrayals that lead to the final showdown with flags.
Very talky at times but unfortunately without a really interesting set of characters. The White Robed Rambler is very blandly played. Someone like David Chiang would have been perfect in the part. The betrayals are unsurprising and if you have seen this type of film before, very predictable. The fights are well done and the finale is unusual but really a way to show off the Venoms acrobatic training. Flag stunts are typical in Chinese acrobatic troupes.
OK but too long at 2 hours.
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