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The Yang family was the loyal strong-arm of the Imperial army. But a jealous General betrays the Eilte Spearman and their father to the opposing Mongol army. After an ambush of a battle, only two of the seven sons survive. One remains hidden by the family while the other lives on the run. The traitorous general must find them and silence them before either of them can testify to the Emperor of his treachery. Written by
This film is loosely based on actual historical figures of China; the Yang family, who defended the Northern borders of the Song Dynasty for generations. The movie's story was initially meant to follow the many tales that centered around one historical figure in particular, Yang Yanzhao. (The 6th son of Yang Ye.) According to history, Yang Ye and his 7 sons were betrayed by General Pan Mei and that he committed suicide in order to provide an escape for his remaining living sons. (The 5th, the 6th and the 7th) The film differs from the legend, in that number 7 dies and number 6 goes mad. The film accurately depicts the fate of the 5th son, as he does desert the army and become a monk on Wu Tai Mountain. In the legend, the 6th son was depicted as the hero and fought in the last stand against Pan Mei and the Liao troops. Such was to be depicted in the film, but a re-write was necessitated with the untimely death of actor Feng Shu, who portrayed the 6th son. Legend tells that the 6th son himself went to the Wu Tai temple to convince his older brother to join the fight, only to be refused as the 5th son would not break his vows to Buddha. Only after a messenger arrived with news of his younger sister's capture, did the 5th son choose to join his brother in the fight. The script was altered so that the only visit the 5th son received, was from a messenger that arrived with news of his sister. This motivates the 5th Yang to return to the fight, giving him the hero spotlight that was meant for 6th brother, Yang Yanzhao. In legend, after Pan Mei's defeat, Yang Yanzhao went on to become a warrior of as fierce renown as his father. Eventually promoted to the rank of General, he continued fighting for the Dynasty until his death at age 57. See more »
In the Jinsha battle scene, just before the Yang patriarch faces the Tartars' army of archers, the golden blade of his staff is (inadvertently) hacked off by one of the Tartar soldiers. In the next shot of Yang, the blade is still attached to his staff. See more »
Lord Buddha is against killing, under any circumstances.
[5th Yang approaching the Abbott]
Look up at Buddha, and down at home.
[Abbott raises his staff to the 5th Yang]
Remember your vows... YOU CAN'T BREAK THEM!
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Fun Even For People Who Don't Like Martial Arts Films
This is an action packed film filled with terrific swordplay and choreography in the battles. Its best to watch on a big screen for full effect. It is a period piece set during the Sung Dynasty, but just suffice to say there is usually something going on. One of the stars, Fu Sheng, was killed in a car crash midway through filming, so its a miracle the film was finished. There's lots of blood, lots of yelling, lots of running around. As always with these kind of films produced by the Shaw Brothers, the colors are vivid. Not usually my kind of film, it was a lot of fun to watch. If you like martial arts films, this is definitely for you.
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