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After her father, Golden Rings, is killed by the Deadly Blade, the Moon Goddess sends out invitations to all the top fighters in the region to try and lure out the Deadly Blade and force him to kill his own son. However, things do not go according to plan.
When is a Shaw Brothers film not a Shaw Brothers film?
RETURN OF THE DEADLY BLADE is a film that looks and feels like a Shaw Brothers movie even though it isn't. It has superior production values to and a more complex plot than a number of the cheaper kung fu tales made around this era, and to hit the similarities home, it features a number of Shaw Brothers alumni in various roles.
Although the slight sloppiness of the fight scenes and staging means that this isn't quite up there on the same level as a Shaw film, it's still a lot of fun. The protagonist is none other than stock bad guy Yasuaki Kurata, here playing a sympathetic hero by the name of Lonely Winner! Kurata has always been an under-appreciated talent in eastern cinema for me so it's nice to see him hogging the limelight for once.
The story has fantastic elements and is a little like those old 'wandering swordsman' type films. However, there is an overarching plot of sorts, which is the hunt for a wheelchair-bound martial arts expert in order to answer questions of identity. Inevitably the elaborate fight scenes take over the plotting, but they're quite well handled here and feature bit parts for players like Lo Lieh and Hwang Jang Lee. David Chiang, meanwhile, has a large supporting role and his character plays a big part in the proceedings; he's always a welcome presence. And Sharon Yeung Pan Pan adds some glamour to the already colourful proceedings.
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