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E hu cun (1974)

6.9
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The devilish residents of the Village of Tigers, led by Hu Jiao, plan to kill Lo Hong Shun, otherwise known as the heroic Sword of the Southern Sky. Their attempts thus far have failed and ... See full summary »

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Title: E hu cun (1974)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Pei-pei Shu ...
Chiu Ku-niang / 9th Miss Ba
Hua Yueh ...
Luo Hong Xun / Sword of the Southern Sky
Karen Yeh ...
Ying Hua
Tien Hsi Tang ...
Ba Long Er
Li Tung ...
Young master Ba Jie (as Kang Hua)
Shen Chan ...
Master Jin
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lung Chiang
Chun Erh
Yen Fu
Kang Ho
Chung-Hsin Huang
Wei Lieh Lan
Min-Lang Li
Chin-Lai Sung ...
(as Chin-lai Sung)
Ying Tan
Edit

Storyline

The devilish residents of the Village of Tigers, led by Hu Jiao, plan to kill Lo Hong Shun, otherwise known as the heroic Sword of the Southern Sky. Their attempts thus far have failed and the most recent mistaken identity sees them looking for another way to achieve this goal. Meanwhile the nearby Ba family are a much more righteous group, with the wisdom of Granny Ba, the style and sword skills of 9th Miss Ba and the enthusiasm of son Master Ba. While Granny enjoys the good wishes of all on her birthday, Miss Ba has her hands full - not only does she discover her honorable brother helping Hu Jiao in his dastardly deeds, but she also believes she has been robbed by a traveler that she gave assistance to (not knowing that this man was Lo Hong Shun). Add to all this relative Ying Hua in affection for Lo Hong Shun, Hu Jiao sees a way to use the righteousness of the Ba family to help him kill the hero Lo by turning them against him - but will righteousness prevail? Written by bob the moo

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Action

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Release Date:

12 January 1974 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Ngoc fu chuen  »

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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Far too much squeezed into a short time and plot is muddling as a result, but performances and action make it worth seeing
31 December 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The devilish residents of the Village of Tigers, led by Hu Jiao, plan to kill Lo Hong Shun, otherwise known as the heroic Sword of the Southern Sky. Their attempts thus far have failed and the most recent mistaken identity sees them looking for another way to achieve this goal. Meanwhile the nearby Ba family are a much more righteous group, with the wisdom of Granny Ba, the style and sword skills of 9th Miss Ba and the enthusiasm of son Master Ba. While Granny enjoys the good wishes of all on her birthday, Miss Ba has her hands full – not only does she discover her honorable brother helping Hu Jiao in his dastardly deeds, but she also believes she has been robbed by a traveler that she gave assistance to (not knowing that this man was Lo Hong Shun). Add to all this relative Ying Hua in affection for Lo Hong Shun, Hu Jiao sees a way to use the righteousness of the Ba family to help him kill the hero Lo by turning them against him – but will righteousness prevail?

Few days ago I watched The Eunuch (Gwei tai jian) which had a lot of characters and plot but just about made it work; with the film E Hun Cun / Village of Tigers, this is not the same case. The challenge with these films is that you want a lot of action but ideally you have that action occurring in a context where you care about those involved and why they are involved – which means you need characters and plot. Now, to have a lot of action and have your film come in under 80 minutes then you will not be left with a lot of time for other things – so the more straightforward you can make things usually the better. This is not the same as saying dumb it down, but you need to make the most of everything. With Village of Tigers there is a great plot here with great characters and interactions but the problem is that it has no time to really fit together or make the most of things – so most of the ideas and threads are better to look back on after you finish the film because during it you are normally just trying to keep up with the characters coming and going who act as plot devices and vanish.

So the Madame that Master Ba sees, the role of Ying Hua and her dedication to Lo, the relationship between Hu and the Ba family, the comic misunderstanding between 9th Miss Ba and the "stranger" and so on. All of these things make for a good plot but in the end it is too rushed and has too much to do so it ends up feeling muddled and messy and you end up just focusing on the action. The downside of this is that the film is weaker for it but at least the action is mainly very good. Wire work is in use but not as much as other films and instead we have a lot of very impressive sword fights with fast movement and good coordination. The final third in particular has a lot and the only thing that bothered me here is that when it is all over, we have the line "Granny, I'll go back first" and then it is over – which I really didn't understand at all!

The cast are mostly very good which again just adds to the shame that so much is crammed in to the detriment of the whole. Although he is not given enough time, I liked Yueh Hua a lot in the lead – he had presence and charisma but for me the key performance was from Shu Pei Pei as 9th Miss. She makes a big impact and is great in action, in comic confusion, in vengeful rage – she really delivers all of it. Support is good from Wang Hsia (Hu), Chan Shen, Tung Li and the attractive Karen Yeh. I do not know the name of the actress who played Granny Ba but I could have watched a while film focused on her character – a lot of fun and again shame the film has no time for anyone. Direction of the action sequences is good as the camera tends to sit back and let us see longer, bigger sequences which ask for more skill. Outside of the action the locations, costumes and general sets are very impressive and add a lot to the film.

Overall this is a good film for the sword action sequences but it really needed to slim down the narrative to deliver the action and do it in less than 80 minutes. The plot doesn't really work as a result and it is a shame because there are a lot of nice ideas and threads in here which, combined with good performances, really deserved to be treated better than they got here.


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