The cast of The 14 Amazons is a veritable "who's who" of the golden age of Shaw Brothers swordplay adventures, and was not only a major box office hit (ranking 4th for 1972), but also a top...
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The cast of The 14 Amazons is a veritable "who's who" of the golden age of Shaw Brothers swordplay adventures, and was not only a major box office hit (ranking 4th for 1972), but also a top prize winner, including Best Support Actress for Lisa Lu, a special citation for outstanding lead female performance for Lily Ho, Best Director for Cheng Kang, and an award for Honorable Mention for Drama. Written by
THE 14 AMAZONS sees the Shaw Brothers doing a historical epic, with great success. The tale is another version of the popular 'General Yang' story which has been propping up Chinese cinema for decades and begins when the heroic character dies in battle against an overwhelming Mongol force. Given that the male bloodline of his family has almost entirely died out, the wives, sisters, and daughters of the family decide to band together and lead their forces out for revenge.
The result is an action-packed story that's all about the battles and as such comes across as a fast and frenetic tale. The build-up is just as engaging as the later action sequences, and kudos to the director for managing to create individual characters amid the large-scale nature of the action. The high budget available to Shaw at this time is apparent in the huge amount of extras and costumes while the outdoor filming gives this film a truly epic look.
Cast-wise, the film features just about every notable female star from the studio during the era, with the exception of Cheng Pei-Pei. The women are very effective and convincing and of course hold their own in the action stakes. The male performers are effective too, with Lo Lieh relishing his villainous role and Yueh Hua as chivalrous as ever. You can even spot Eric Tsang and Yuen Biao in tiny roles if you look carefully. The battle sequences are bloody and brilliant, and there are many inventive moments (like the classic 'broken bridge' set-piece) to keep you watching. THE 14 AMAZONS is another Shaw hit and a genuinely great movie.
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