Saturday, April 30, 2016



Producer Runme Shaw gives us THE GOLDEN KNIGHT (1970) a wuxia, suspenseful who-done-it with an complex script by Liang Yen (Yip Yat-Fong) [Black Butterfly 1968)] and [The Jade Raksha (1968)] co-written by Huang Feng (Wong Fung). It released April 17th and was directed by Yueh Feng [Rape of the Sword (1967)] and [The Bells of Death (1968)] with action direction by Han Kuo.  (A word about the title: in Chinese there is no such convention as adding an "s" to indicate plural nouns so the title in English could have been translated: THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS and as such would have been much more accurate considering the events of the movie. )

It is a solemn day for the Jiang Hu. The Supreme Grand Master, having been very ill and recognizing his time on earth is nearing an end, has written manuals of his six martial skills to give to six of the major heads of the martial clans. The Poison Palm, the Zen Finger, the Azura Sword, the Deadly Sabre, the Jingang Palm and the Iron Body manuals are all ready to be given to the grand masters of the six major clans on the appointed day at the appointed hour.  

On the appointed day at the appointed hour however only five of the six grand masters had arrived. Grand Master Yu Yun-Yang of Huang Shan Clan had not yet arrived so the Supreme Grand Master reserved the Poison Palm manual for Grand Master Yu Yun-Yang since it was the Huang Shan Clan's specialty and gave the remaining five manuals to the attending five grand masters and bid them to return to their clans. 

On their way back to their clans the five grand masters ran into Grand Master Yu Yun-Yang on his way to their meeting with the Supreme Grand Master and told him of the Supreme Grand Master's intention. The five grand masters then continued on their way back to their clans and Grand Master Yu continued on to see the Supreme Grand Master. But when Grand Master Yu arrived at the Supreme Grand Master's home he found the Supreme Grand Master and his servant had been murdered. Grand Master Yu immediately called out to the five grand masters to return to the Supreme Grand Master's house. 

Hearing Grand Master Yu's cries, the five grand masters ran back to the Supreme Grand Master's house as quickly as they could. When they arrived back at the Supreme Grand Master's house, they found the Supreme Grand Master and his servant dead and Grand Master Yu's bloodied belonging but not Grand Master Yu's body. The five grand masters assumed that Grand Master Yu had been murdered and carried off and could do nothing else but return to their clans and report their experience to The Tongxin Clan, Golden Knights, the clan of justice in the Jiang Hu. 

The Tongxin Clan Golden Knights are the court of justice for the Jiang Hu and all matters of law are brought before them. Shortly after the murder and disappearance of the Supreme Grand Master and Grand Master Yu, the Iron Body Manual was stolen from the Huashan Clan and the Deadly Sabre manual was stolen from the Kongdong Clan with members of both clans being killed in the process. There were two attempts made on the Zen Finger manual at Shaolin Temple but they were both unsuccessful, no one was killed and the manual was not stolen. Circumstantial evidence points to the daughter of the missing, Grand Master Yu Yun-Yang, Yu Fei-Xia --but did she commit these crimes of murder and theft, or did someone else? 

the good: Lily Ho Li-Li as Yu Fei-Xia / Jiang Yi-Ming. Kao Yuen as Lu Yi-Nan, a Golden Knight. Wang Hsieh as Master Jing Zheng-Lun, a Golden Knight.  Fan Mei-Sheng as Guan Xi-Yang, a Golden Knight. Wong Ching-Ho as Shaolin Abbot Yi-Shu. Ku Feng as Monk Tieh Teng, a Golden Knight.  Chuen Yuen as Chief of Tongxin Clan Golden Knights. 
the bad: Yeung Yip-Wang as Master Bao. Shu Pei-Pei as Ai Qing. Hsu Yu as the Censor's wife. Lan Wei-Lieh as a fake Imperial Guard.

HONORABLE MENTION: Cheng Miu and Sammo Hung Kam-Bo guest star in small roles.

FIGHT TIME: THE GOLDEN KNIGHT (1970) credits Han Kuo with the action direction of the movie but director (Griffin) Yueh Feng has too much of a heavy hand with his hand held shaky cam that readers of my past reviews know I am not a fan of. There were only six (6) fight scenes in the entire movie and they were not too bad for what I could see of them but the constant movement of the camera really robbed me of a clear view in many of those scenes and it was very annoying. That said, Han Kuo kept the movie's pace fast and exciting and I hardly noticed that there could have been another fight or two just for good measure. An acceptable performance. 

THE GOLDEN KNIGHT (1970) is a movie that, as I think about it, is probably easier to experience by Mandarin Chinese speakers than by English subtitle readers. The double flash-back one third in the movie that is actually the movie's beginning along with the lack of detail in the subtitles about just who The Golden Knights were leaves one playing catch-up quite a bit on the first viewing. If that wasn't challenging enough if the viewer has no knowledge of the Jiang Hu then the viewer really needs to watch the movie a second time before it feels like a smooth story-telling.   

If the viewer does bother to view the movie a second time and think along the lines of an episode of Law And Order Criminal Intent then they have a much better chance to discover the well crafted (but hard to translate) "who done it" scripted by Yip Yat-Fong and Wong Fung. This is one of those movies I believe would do well as a modern remake with jacked-up martial arts scenes. As it is, I can still in good conscious recommend it for ones casual viewing pleasure but as a collectible, maybe not so much. See you next time! 

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