In this movie from classic period of Shaw Brothers, we have a group of evil bandits that terrorize the land from their invincible mountain castle. The high commanding official decides to put a stop to this and commands one of his officers to gather a group of Kung Fu masters and put an end to the terror. But everything is not that simple and straight-forward, as we quite soon learn when the plot thickens.
KILLERS FIVE differs quite a lot in style from other pictures I've seen directed by Gang Cheng. To be honest, I have very mixed feelings towards this film. The plot keeps your interest up, but it twists and turns like a bad mountain road. This is a very typical feature in older Wu Xia films, but gets very emphasized when everything is packed within mere 81 minutes. Some of the photography and almost all of the settings are beautiful and powerful, but most of the cutting and pacing is messy and makes much of the fighting almost impossible to follow. However, there is a certain feel of innovativeness and hard trying, as well as the presentation of sentimentality and some high ideologies (if somewhat underlined), which deserve the kudos and my sympathy.
Although I like both old and new, fast-paced and slow-paced Wu Xia films, this one gives me some more headache than pleasure, when following the plot and the action scenes. Having so much everything in such a short film made me feel like I'm watching a fast-forwarded movie, rather than well paced and thought over piece of work. Also, some people might get offended by the brutality of violence that is depicted in few scenes. (I didn't mind, but you just might... ;)
For sympathy and being a fan of the genre, I'll give this one a 6 out of 10 and urge the fans of Wu Xia films to see this and figure it out by themselves, whether it was worth it or not. If you're not that familiar with Wu Xia genre or vintage martial arts movies in general, you may drop two points off and pass this one.
This is my truth. What is yours?
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