Lee Khan, a high official under Mongolian Emperor Yuan of the Yuan dynasty (year 1366) procures the battle map of the Chinese rebel Chu Yuan-Chang's army. Rebel spies, aided by treachery within Khan's ranks, strive to corner him in an inn.
A kung-fu manual known as the sacred scroll is stolen from the Emperor's library. An army detachment is sent to recover it. Meanwhile, a young swordsman and his fellow disciple are accidentally drawn into the chaos.
This 3-parter uses the same 3 leads in each of its parts. Through reincarnation, 3 people meet in 3 different periods of Chinese history. Director King Hu opens with a Ming Dynasty tale of ... See full summary »
According to the director, Jackie Chan acted as an extra and he requested for more work as he need the money. King Hu found him cute and hardworking but hide his face away from the camera so that he could work more times, repeatedly as a killed pirate. See more »
It starts with the helpful narrator explaining to us about the pirate problem. If you suspect the pirates are Japanese then you have been paying attention.
There is not much to this movie. The plot, characters, backstory, are all simple. Yet there is a lot to this movie. That contradiction is because of the director. Enough has been said about King Hu so I will say only a little more. He took all the simplicity and made it rich.
It could be said Sammo Hung did the same for the fights. It's almost all swordfights and that could make the action repetitive and tiresome. Sammo keeps the action fresh by keeping it simple.
I am a hard core fan of martial arts movies of the golden age from 1967 to 1984. I have had this movie on DVD for years now and just realized I never watched it. That was a pleasant surprise. More of a surprise was the enjoyment. I will add this movie to my list of best of 1975.
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