Polly Shang Kwan dresses as a man in below-average kung fu entry
99 CYCLING SWORDS is a bottom-of-the-barrel entry in the 1970s kung fu genre with the normally adept Polly Shang Kwan (DRAGON INN, LADY WUTANG) trapped in a confusing mess of a plot and silly fight scenes. The plot has something to do with the search for a traitor among the Four Dragons team of kung fu experts and the search for an elusive fellow named Chu Er Ming who seeks to restore the Ching Dynasty. Three disparate characters ally with the Four Dragons to try and find the elusive rebel, who conveniently always shows up when and where the heroes want him to, even though he has no reason to. Polly's character is dressed as a man for most of the film and is accepted as such, even though her chest is noticeable enough for the others to at least ask questions. And when she falls for another hero she tells him that she has a `sister' for him. So she dresses up as a female (the first time in the film she does so) and comes to meet the other guy in a scene that is actually one of the cuter ones in the film.
The fight scenes tend to be too gimmicky, with lots of high leaping and back-and-front flips and use of props. The bad guy wields a mean whip. There's a lot of reverse printing, e.g. the bad guy catching tea cups in a perfect column as they are thrown at him by the heroes. These scenes can actually be fun to watch, if you're not looking for great kung fu, but you have to sit through some horrible dialogue scenes to get to them. The English dubbing is just about the worst this reviewer has ever encountered. Most of the dialogue seems to have been made up simply to fit the lip movements rather than advance the story. Whenever music is called for, the loud and bombastic theme music is simply repeated. This one is only for kung fu completists and fans of Polly Shang Kwan.
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