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Legend has it that in a faraway place beyond the edge of the earth, there exists a broken-hearted man with infinite power. Abandoned by his loved ones, the inheritance of the old man's chi power becomes a battleground for evil outsiders.
For ten years, Cho has been in the snow of Mount Shin Fung waiting for a rare flower to blossom that will cure his wife who, back in Chung Yuan, is slowly killing all of the members of the Eight Big Clans. Something Cho did to her early in their marriage has turned her hair white and driven her mad. Cho's nephew, Kit, marries Lyre; they are deeply in love. On their wedding night, Ni-Chang, the bride with white hair, kidnaps Lyre and takes her to her harem of fighting women to indoctrinate her against Kit. Kit tries to lead a rescue party, but they are up against formidable opponents. Can Cho come in time with the blossom to soften Ni-Chang's heart? Written by
There's some confusion in these reviews between the first and second movies. The sequel was rushed into production to capitalise on the success of the first, so obviously there is a drop in quality. Brigitte Lin did not "retire" as such, but got married, which in Hong Kong cinema often counts as the same thing - its seen as bad form if a woman has to work because it suggests that the husband is not providing. The rest of us know that acting in movies doesn't actually count as real work, but we almost lost Maggie Cheung to this odd syndrome, and even Michelle Yeoh retired for the few years when she was married to a big name producer. Anyway, Brigitte Lin is still fine in this film (great to see a woman "of a certain age" still given such a strong part in a HK film), despite her performance being simplistically villainous throughout. And Christy Chung is fantastic in a cigarette chewing pastiche of Chow Yun Fat. The gender politics in this movie are particularly striking - the men are mostly sexist pigs trembling in the face of female empowerment, while the women inhabit a man-hating commune where they are gradually eradicating the two-timing dogs from their world ("Men. I see one, I kill one."). Both are somewhat reprehensible in their own way, but in the Asian context, it is notable that many such films indulge fantasies of powerful evil women permitting spectacular displays of forceful sexuality which is always punished or destroyed at the end to return the gender balance to its patriarchal, safe norm. As such, it fits neatly into all the categories which have made Hong Kong films so fascinating and extreme to Western viewers.
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