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Shu Lin Chang,
Generally undistinguished kung fu with a good ending
MILITANT EAGLE is a low-rent historical kung fu epic that was made by a Hong Kong studio and shot in Taiwan. The over-complicated storyline involves the typical nefarious bad guys and a diverse group of heroes who end up joining forces to battle the real foes. To this end the hero is a kind of travelling showman who brings a group of bratty, over-eager kids in tow. He runs in with the usual bragging criminal types and is forced to team up with a vengeful butcher and his niece in order to bring the criminals to justice.
For the most part this is a very typical and middling kung fu story, not helped by the usual poor dubbing and pan-and-scan print of the version I saw. The performances are average for the genre but it's the fight scenes that make or break films such as this. Unfortunately they're equally undistinguished; there's nothing here that hasn't been done a zillion times before, and it's impossible to get excited over the over-choreographed and stylised fight routines.
Saying that, MILITANT EAGLE does have one good scene: the fast and frenetic fighting of the extended climax. The entire last half an hour is a massive brawl between the heroes and the various baddies assailed against them, including a huge bald giant wearing a loincloth and carrying a massive golden club. His eventual fate has to be seen to be believed! If the film had been like this all the way through it would have been more fun, but that first hour really drags it down unfortunately.
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