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Enzo G. Castellari
Mostly Fun and Cheesy with Good Action and Bizarre Music
This is a slightly confusing movie due to some moderately bad dubbing (some of which provides (un?)intentional laughs) and also due to several dark scenes where everyone seems to be wearing black on a black street on a moonless night, and I don't know much about actors etc in fu flicks so I thought I'd just give a general breakdown of the movie's plot.
The opening scenes feature several people being killed in a dark room while other, so far nameless men, sit and make important looking gestures. This is followed by an execution, followed by one of the executioners (We'll call him "The Hero") finding his family slain, which sets up the expected vow of revenge theme common to the genre. Finding his Nephew alive and stuck in a nearby well he uses the child to set a trap for the killers, whom he trounces with ease. He then sets off to find whoever paid them, after resigning his "post" (no idea what his post was). Leaving the child with "Uncle Ko", he stomps off to the home of his family's killers, where he continues to beat the snot out of anyone in his way. Finding that this is just a middle-man in the plot against him, he gets the name of the next guy he has to track down. By this point his nephew has escaped and tracks him down to join him in his quest.
Then some more people are killed in a dark set on a dark night in a dark.. you get the idea.. A 1000 gold tael reward is offered for the killers death (it's blamed on our Hero) and he's soon attacked several times by some humorous looking assailants and some unconventional weapons (the cliché black and white fighting team, the people with 3 shot arrow guns). The child is attacked and rescued by a nameless "Man in Black" (our Hero wears all white, of course) during the course of the hero's butt-whupping. A third man (we'll call him Guy #3) hears about the reward and rushes off to tell a lady with a big head that he will give her the reward in return for her daughter's hand in marriage. This is exceedingly stupid, as she just wanted 20 taels of silver. Oh well.. We find that he is master of the "Thunder Palm", which should be called "Throwing Grenades", as that's what he actually does. I have to mention that at this point there's a good 5 minutes of melodrama featuring, i kid you not, the score from "The young and the Restless" (or the hulk or some other sappy 70's music.. it's horrible..) i was begging the movie to please stop and was relieved when the scene ended.. only to find myself watching naked Chinese kids jumping around in a stream IN SLOW MOTION (eye roll.. fast forward fast forward)..
The music gets crazy like something off hearts of space (laser blasts, ambient rhythm's, etc) as the Man in Black approaches the Hero. They fight, but are an even match, and the Man in Black walks off calmly (to the tune of more laser blasts, etc). The Man in Black is then told to kill both the hero and the child, but he runs into Guy #3 first instead. Both wanting the reward money they (of course) start fighting (in a dark room etc). It's a shame the picture is so dark, as these are both very talented actors/fighters.. Guy #3 then throws his trademark thunder palm grenades but fails to kill him (I think.. it's too dark to tell what's going on.. someone laughs ominously afterwords, so it's anyone's guess what happened).
Guy #3 and the Hero then fight, with the Hero emerging victorious and another dramatic scene and MORE BAD 70'S MUSIC (ARRRGG..). Maiming Guy #3, the Hero and his Nephew start again on their journey to wherever they're going, leaving Guy #3 and his potential bride to be to wax poignant to the same ***** frigging **** music (fast forward fast forward).. The Man in Black informs Guy #3 that he must still be killed for no real reason, which he promptly does, resulting in more music, blah blah blah. He then carries off the girl..
The Man in Black attacks the Hero with some goofy sound effects and more space music, this time the Hero walking away as the Man in Black stumbles to the ground (and more space music). The Nephew is kidnapped during the action, and the Hero proceeds to the home of the person who set up the murders, where he is attacked by some birds who he not only kills, but somehow completely plucked with his sword. Surrounded by archers, he proceeds to throw their arrows back at them, killing several, and attacks his Nephews' kidnapper as an all out mêlée ensues.
The Hero is blindfolded, tied up, and hung from a tree, and then told that his blood will be drank and his flesh eaten, and he is tortured for a bit before the girl shows up and starts lobbing hand grenades at his captor just before being killed herself..
This sets us up for the climactic final battle.. Who wins? Watch the movie and find out ;)
My rating: 5 out of 10 due to half the fights being to dark to see and the horrible horrible music.. otherwise I'd have given it a 7. It has a few cheesy scenes, but not enough for it to be a joke, and the fighting we do see is well done for the most part.
Gore rating: 4 out of 10 for some fingers being cut off, heads rolling, blood, etc.
There are better fu flicks out there, but then again, there are a LOT worse..
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