The Shaolin Temple is the last place to resist defeat by the Manchu Dynasty, mostly because of their unique fighting style. Men from far and wide come to wait outside the temple, hoping ... See full summary »
Director Chang Cheh reunites the Five Venoms in his second biggest cult hit in the West. It's Lo Meng's most memorable performances whose showdown with fellow Venom Kuo Chue is artistically violent while being graphically artsy.
Assassin Chang and his brother Hung meet up with a soldier, Mu. Together, they form a small mountain army, but when Hung's wife arrives, emotions swell, and Mu leaves for the army. After ... See full summary »
A Chinese man (Liu) marries a Japanese woman through an arranged marriage and manages to insult all of her Japanese martial arts family by issuing a challenge to her that is misinterpreted ... See full summary »
Hung escapes Shaolin after the temple is attacked by the Ching, only to be jailed with the help of Fang (also of Shoalin) who mistakes him for a bandit. Fang must now help Hung escape so they can challenge the Ching together.
Another Shaw Brothers Classic: Ming Rebels against Mongol Fighters
During the Mongol reign of China in the 13th century, six sworn brothers of the oppressed Ming loyalists plan a rebellion against the tyranny. When two of them are brutally killed in their daring attempt to assassinate the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan, the remaining four fighters band together to take revenge. But they do not have the upper hand since the Emperor is surrounded by three of his best fighters: Daidalu (played by Liang Chia-jen or popularly known as "Beardy"), who possesses the Fiery Palm technique that instantly kills any opponent who sustains his swift blow, a double-sword wielding fighter who kills by dismembering his opponent's armpits named Abulabha (Gordon Liu) and the arm-locking and waist-breaking wrestler Duilitan (Johnny Wang Lung Wei).
Before the four rebels can execute their plan to defeat their much-skilled rivals, they decide to undergo arduous training in special kungfu techniques: Fu Sheng with the Iron Palm technique - which makes him able to release fatal blows through his inner strength, Kuo Chui with the Leaping Kick technique - which makes him able to somersault in the air and land mortal kicks, Yen-tsan Tang with the Super Strength technique - which makes him able to release extraordinary strength to defeat his opponents, and Chi Kuan-chin with the Bamboo Twisting technique - which makes him invulnerable to sword attacks and arrow shots but for one weak spot. Since the Mongols have banned all sorts of kungfu training throughout the country, the four rebels have no other option but to practice secretively under their teacher's guidance only in the small hours for months.
Marco Polo, who has been assigned as a viceroy by the Mongol emperor with a priority to thwart these Chinese rebels, eventually sides with the rebellion. When the three Mongol fighters and their troops, with Polo's lead, have located and surrounded the rebels' hideout, they realize that they are facing a fearful four-man army who is prepared for anything that comes their way. The inevitable one-on-one blood-for-blood duel ensues, culminating in a life-and-death showdown that would decide the fate of the four heroes and their force of rebellion.
This is not a biopic of the famous Italian explorer. This is a 1975 Shaw Brothers mega-production that incorporates few facts but a lot of fiction into an exciting kungfu extravaganza, which was meant to attract wider international audience by casting American actor Richard Harrison as the title character. Those expecting to see a film on Marco Polo that is historically accurate will be sorely disappointed.
The title itself, in my opinion, is rather misleading as the film does not portray the life of Marco Polo himself. A more appropriate title should be: THE FOUR ASSASSINS, which is actually the alternate title, MARCO POLO AND THE FOUR ASSASSINS, or MARCO POLO AND THE FOUR REBELS.
Despite that, if you are familiar with a Shaw Brothers film, you will see exciting kungfu training and fighting of the four characters. Unlike the weak fight sequences in HEROES TWO (1974), those seen here are surprisingly well-choreographed, which elevate the tension during the climactic fights.
All in all, THE FOUR ASSASSINS comes recommended for those who enjoy watching solid kungfu flicks of the 70's - Shaw Brothers style!
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