SIX ASSASSINS (1971)
SIX ASSASSINS (1971) released March 25th, was written and directed by Walter Chung Chang-Hwa produced by Shin Sang-Ok and Sir Run Run Shaw. Shot in Taiwan, it is a twist of THE MAGNIFICENT 7 with a splash of CHUSHINGURA: THE 47 RONIN, wuxia movie! Let's get busy.
|Yun Il-Bong as Lord Zheng Guo Li Min|
|Chen Feng-Chen as Lord Ding Yuan|
Lord Zheng Guo Li Ming is a feudal lord and land owner but most importantly he is the emperor's brother. Unfortunately Lord Li Ming is also a tyrant and his treatment of his servants have them running to the neighboring estate, the estate of Lord Zheng Shou Zhen Ding Yuan.
Lord Li Ming refuses to accept this defiance from lowly peasants and personally travels to the Ding Yuan estate to confront one such family and robs and murders them. He then orders the boundary marker to be moved to expand his estate but Lord Ding Yuan arrives to confront him and demands he move the marker back and leave his land. This enrages the emperor's brother and he murders Lord Ding Yuan right on the spot. As Lord Ding Yuan lies dying though, he orders his men to not do anything.
|Shum Lo as Minister Cui Yin|
The case lands before Minister Cui Yin by virtue of written petitions and before hearing from either estate representative in person he decides in favor of the emperor's brother Lord Li Ming. Minister Cui decides that Lord Zheng Shou Zhen Ding Yuan was in the wrong and his son will not inherit his title and will forfeit his father's estate. When Minister Ruan Yi-Cheng arrives at the capital representing the Ding Yuan estate, the edit against them has been drafted already but Minister Ruan Yi-Cheng begs Minister Cui to delay the issuing of the edit for one month so he may prepare the people of Wei City for the outcome and avoid any unrest. Under the conditions laid out by Minister Ruan Yi-Cheng, Minister Cui agrees to the one month delay BUT Minister Ruan has lied!
|Fang Mian as Ruan Yi-Cheng|
the good: Ling Yun as Hero Mun Jun-Jie. James Nam Gung-Fan as Fu Cheng. Lily Li as Sun Mei-Zhen.
the bad: Yun Il-Bong as Lord Zheng Guo Li Ming. Kao Ming as Captain Qiu Zhang-Sheng. Tong Tin-Hei as Lord Li-Ming personal body guard.
HONORABLE MENTION: Introducing in his very first movie: Chan Shen as Yu Li-De, Lord Li-Ming personal body guard. Bruce Tong Yim-Chaan, Luk Chuen, Sammo Hung, Someno Yukio and Lam Ching-Ying have small roles as fighters.
|Introducing: Chan Shen|
FIGHT TIME: SIX ASSASSINS (1971) is credited by HKMD (Hong Kong Movie Database) as directed by Walter Chung Chang-Hwa with no credit given to any action director. I must say, under these circumstances, the action is top notch and state of the art for 1971. The techniques are clear, easy to follow, realistic and entertaining. Each participant has their own flavor about their fight style and I am hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with the five (5) actions scenes I counted. This is not action-packed, but never-the-less, the movie is still well paced. There are both weapons and empty handed combat on display. Well done!
HONORABLE MENTION: James Nam Gung-Fan's fight scenes are very flashy and suitable for his character which is a parallel to Robert Vaughn's character from the Magnificent Seven.
RECOMMENDATION: SIX ASSASSINS (1971) is a nice eastern western romp for any slow Saturday afternoon when one has a touch of kung fu fever that needs a fix. In addition it is collectible as the character actor, Chan Shen's first movie. He is well used in almost every classic Shaw Brother's movie whether action or comedy. Well, that's my review, see you next time!
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NEXT UP: THE JADE FACED ASSASSIN (1971)