Three North Shaolin teachers (Lu Feng, Chang Sheng, and Sun Chien) are called on by the Manchus to teach their soldiers and are urged to challenge the current South Shaolin teachers. They ... See full summary »
The Shaolin Temple is the last place to resist defeat by the Manchu Dynasty, mostly because of their unique fighting style. Men from far and wide come to wait outside the temple, hoping ... See full summary »
Yuan Ying Fei is the descendant of the one known as Golden Sword and himself is a master of the technique as well as being boss of the town. He is so a cruel man and has killed his sparring... See full summary »
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 »
The heroes pose as gun dealers and acrobats in order to get close to the bad guys so they can avenge the death of one of their brothers. In the end they lock the bad guys in a warehouse for a final battle to the death.
I think I am correct in saying that this kung fu oddity is one of director Chang Cheh's less celebrated works, and for good reason: the plot is convoluted, quickly losing those unfamiliar with Chinese literary classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms (on which it is loosely based), while the supernatural shenanigans that make up most of the movie soon become tiresome.
After an opening guaranteed to bewilder Western viewers with its rapid fire of Chinese names and places, political scheming, and Taoist magical trickery, the film eventually settles into semi-intelligible mode with the introduction of fearless General Sun Jia (Chiu Gwok), who proves to be unbeatable in battle, even shrugging off several arrows to the chest.
Sun Jia proves to be less than heroic, however, when he orders the execution of wizard Yu (Cheng Tien-Chi) whose amazing powers include healing the sick and controlling the weather. After Master Yu is beheaded, his body is taken by five of his loyal students (all of whom wear dresses!), who help the dead man's mischievous spirit (Cheng Tien-Chi again, minus facial hair) to torment the general. The plot also involves a devious magistrate Xu Gong (Wong Lik), who is planning to kill Sun Jia to become lord of Wu, but this only comes into play after lots of really silly spiritual nonsense that sees Cheng Tien-Chi grinning like a loon while swathed in red light.
As with many a Shaw Brothers production, the martial arts is impressive when it happens (which, unfortunately, isn't often enough), Cheng pulling off some impressive acrobatics, as one might expect from a student of the Peking Opera School. The finalé, which pits Yu's students (now wearing nappies) against Sun Jia and the treacherous Xu Gong, delivers some superbly choreographed martial arts, some less well-executed wire-work (clearly visible in some shots), and a spot of bright red gore, but overall, the film simply lacks the cohesion and impact of Chang Cheh's better known efforts.
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