Warrior Tuan Changqing (Ti Lung) meets courtesan Liu Yinxi (Shih Szu) in a small town. Liu pleads Tuan to kill underworld master Guo Tiansheng (Ku Feng), known as the "Killer Doctor", in ...
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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 »
Shaolin Mantis (Orig. Tang lang) is a 1978 Shaw Brothers film directed by Lau Kar-leung. Starring David Chiang and Liu Chia Hui. Shaolin Mantis tells the story of a man who learns martial arts by observing a praying mantis.
A Kung Fu master finds out that an opium den is destroying the lives of the town he lives in, and vows to put an end to the den, but first he must try to defeat the strongest enemy he has ever faced: his addiction to the drug itself.
LIFE GAMBLE is the tale of a simple blacksmith (Kuo Chue) with extraordinary martial arts skills who is entangled in a life and death struggle between swordsmen, thieves, con artists, a ... See full summary »
Chi Ming-sing is a former disciple of a gang run by overlord Yoh Xi-hung. Yoh's disciples hunt Chi relentlessly as he travels on a soul-searching journey. He comes to the aid of a seemingly... See full summary »
Warrior Tuan Changqing (Ti Lung) meets courtesan Liu Yinxi (Shih Szu) in a small town. Liu pleads Tuan to kill underworld master Guo Tiansheng (Ku Feng), known as the "Killer Doctor", in oder to avenge the death of her fiance. Tuan and casino security guard Xiao Dao (Alexander Fu Sheng) breaks into Guo's household and triggering the battle of good against evil.
On September 17th, 1978, Fu Sheng suffered a serious injury when he was suspended 8 feet in the air and the wire that held him snapped. He fell 8 feet backwards on his head, crashing through an urn, almost breaking his neck. See more »
TI LUNG - a change of pace - in an actioner with a misogynistic twist, and KU FENG relegated to a secondary role
THE DEADLY BREAKING SWORD stands apart from other Shaw Bros. productions starring TI LUNG in making him an unsympathetic, even an unlikeable character. The more SB films one sees, the more rewarding it can be as you see how the filmmakers would attempt to move beyond the genre formulas, even though they used the same actors and production crews.
His role as TUAN CHANGQING, the Deadly Breaking Sword, puts him at odds with the rest of the martial world. He is an aberration of his famous heroic roles, eg. THE SENTIMENTAL SWORDSMAN cycle: he is no longer a protector of the weak, and the old, nor is he a defender of helpless women (though one might argue, there are no so called helpless women in this story).
He looks ahead to the likes of FRANKIE CHAN's nobleman in THE PRODIGAL SON and Donnie Yen's General in the superior ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA II. A superior fighter who provokes less fighters into mortal combat; a sadist who not only provides his quarry a coffin but who also relishes detailing his deadly breaking sword technique.
The film cleverly begins with a duel with LIAN SAN (WAI-MAN CHAN) whose own reputation rests with his Throat-Piercing Halberd. The two fighters are well matched, and both sustain serious wounds. The contest ends with LIAN's flight to safety.
LIAN's miraculous recovery is brought about by GUO TIANSHENG (KU FENG). GUO hides behind a facade he has skilfully created in which he is a warm, compassionate and peace loving man. He has an ulterior motive for saving LIAN's life.
The catalyst for the ensuing action is LIU JINHUA, a successful prostitute who comes to town, and hopes to enlist TUAN's services to kill GUO, whom she believes betrayed her brother years ago.
Add to this potentially confusing mix, FU SHENG playing his patented scoundrel, except this time, he is too blind to comprehend that the beautiful LUO JINHUA (LILY LI) is totally in love with him. XIAO DAO (FU) spends most of the film trying to get out of his indentured status. His need for quick, ready cash sets him on a collision course with both TUAN and GUO (aka THE KILLER DOCTOR).
There are several scenes where the key characters confront one another: in one, the smooth, sly GUO easily deceives TUAN; in another, TUAN accuses LIU of lying to him; in others, TUAN, still fooled by the KILLER DOCTOR, attempts to stop XIAO (FU SHENG) from taking on the mission of eliminating the Doctor - for money, and then there is the drastic course of action that FU SHENG takes when he fathoms what LILY LI has been doing.
There is a lot of action, well up to the usual house standards, and well staged too. But what stayed with me was TI LUNG's character TUAN CHANGQING, who is every bit the hypocrite that the good DOCTOR GUO is. It's a great scene when TUAN sitting down with XIAO tells him how wonderful he is as a fighter, and if he only had principles...
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