Saturday, August 29, 2015



THE SWORD AND THE LUTE is the next and last movie of our trilogy and takes place some time after the conclusion of THE TWIN SWORDS and the Gan family's raid on THE TEMPLE OF THE RED LOTUS to rescue the third generation's daughter, Gan Lianzhu from the clutches of the Red Lotus Clan.

In the previous movie (THE TWIN SWORDS) we were introduced to three sacred items but only shown two of them. The first sacred item is The Fish Intestine Sword. It is the Gan's family heirloom and cuts all kinds of iron. This item was handed down to Gan Xiaoling, a forth generation daughter and is in her possession. (In THE SWORD AND THE LUTE it is called The Invincible Sword). The second sacred item is the Phoenix Lute. The Phoenix Lute is a weapon of mass destruction that can hurl forward scores of hair thin poisonous needles. This attack is impossible to guard against within 500 steps. The Phoenix Lute is not made of wood or stone and only the Fish Intestine Sword can destroy it. The Phoenix Lute was acquired by The Red Lady (In THE SWORD AND THE LUTE she is called The Scarlet Maid) with great effort and is in her possession. The third and final sacred item is the Seven Stars Stone of the Sun family in Baifu (In THE SWORD AND THE LUTE it is called the Shen family's heirloom). We never see the stone but are told only it can heal people injured by the Phoenix Lute by drawing the needles out of the injured party. These sacred items play heavily in our final story.  

In THE TWIN SWORDS Gan Lianzhu is being held captive in THE TEMPLE OF THE RED LOTUS so the Gan family go to rescue her. The losses of the Gan family during their battle with the Red Lotus Clan and the successful rescuing of Lianzhu from the Red Lotus Temple causes the family great sorrow and they decide to retire from jiang hu and live in seclusion in an undisclosed location. Gui Wu (Gan Lianzhu's husband) and Gan Lianzhu have gone to Scarlet Maid's Magic Mountain retreat (where fairies live) to improve their martial arts with the Scarlet Maid and have become known as the Yin Yang Swordmen. All of the above takes place off-screen after the end of THE TWIN SWORDS but is given to us in pieces during THE SWORD AND THE LUTE.

LIU CHIA-LIANG behind seated lady.

The movie begins with the Yin Yang Swordmen leaving Scarlet Maid's place with the Phoenix Lute and instructions from the Scarlet Maid to not only not use the Phoenix Lute but to destroy it with the Gan's family heirloom: The Invincible Sword. On their way Gui Wu suggest they cut through the woods, but once there, they are ambushed by the Flying Tiger Clan intent on robbing them. The Flying Tiger Clan proves to be quite large in number and after Gui Wu sees a large number of them surrounding his wife, decides he has had enough and retrieves the Phoenix Lute from Gan Lianzhu's horse and fires it on the robbers. A great number of them are indeed hit and all that can appear to run off. The squad leader of the bandits however is the clan's "thinker" (Master Wen). He is uninjured and intrigued by the weapon so he sneakily follows Wu'er and Lianzhu as they leave the woods with Lianzhu quite upset with Wu'er. As they stop at a small natural water fall, she scolds him for disobeying his aunt, the Scarlet Maid. Master Wen is extremely fortunate to be able to eavesdrop on the couple and through their argument learns of the Shen family's Seven Stars Stone. He decides he has learned some valuable information worthy of his chief's attention. As he turns to leave he realizes the arguing young couple are not paying any attention to their horses or the Phoenix Lute...

THE SWORD AND THE LUTE has a excellent cast, first we have returning characters Jimmy Wang Yu as Gui Wu, Chin Ping as Gan Lingzhu, Petrina Fung Bo-Bo as Gan Xiaoling and Ivy Ling Po as the Scarlet Maid. Then we have some cast members returning but with a twist, such as Lo Lieh as his former character's little brother Du Ying, Ku Feng in pretty much a cameo role as Master Song, Lee Wan Chung is back as a villian but this time the Flying Tiger Clan's Master Wen, Cheng Miu is also back as the clan chief but this time as Master Flying Tiger. Wu Ma is the chief's son Bao Erh). Joining the cast are Yuen Hua as Master Shen Shu-Wen responsible for the Shen family's Seven Stars Stone. Peng Peng from the famous multi-part JOURNEY TO THE WEST movies is a special guest star as Xiaoling's guardian Da Shin. For the villains, Lily Ho joins the cast as the fierce Wei Mei-Er, the Flying Tiger's daughter and Clan's lady fighter who takes a back seat to no one! The great Liu Chia-Liang is one of the Flying Tigers upper level henchmen and the legendary Sam Seed himself,Yuen Siu-tien plays the only Red Lotus Clan fake monk left in the movie series.

And now for my favorite part of the kung fu movie, the kung fu! I count 7 fight scenes in THE SWORD AND THE LUTE which means there is sufficient kung fu in the movie to keep you from getting bored --unless the fight scenes suck, which here, they don't but...
I remember being a lot happier with the quality of the fight scenes in the first two movies. The fight scenes in THE SWORD AND THE LUTE lack the edge of the first two movies. Something is missing or something seems just a little off when they throw down and I don't buy it one hundred percent but it is still a sale. This is a wuxia series so there is no need to criticize mystical weapons, items or chi kung in combat application. That's what these movies do. If this is not your thing, then please, there are plenty of dramas out there to satisfy you.

THE SWORD AND THE LUTE (1967) is not the best over-all movie of the three [TEMPLE OF THE RED LOTUS (1965) and THE TWIN SWORDS (1965) being the other two] but is the best of the three as a stand alone movie. I feel THE TWIN SWORDS is the best over-all movie of the three based on its focus and the quality of its fight scenes. I did like THE SWORD AND THE LUTE, and would very much recommend it to everyone on the strength of its plot and subplots. I would also like to advocate it to be remade but as a prequel to Lady Sun's Justice but that is a debate for another time.


Saturday, August 22, 2015



Fang Junzhao is one of the top, up and coming students of Wudang Mountain. One day, while on his way back to Wudang, he stops at a very small inn in Guandong Province for a rest. While there, he overhears a planned robbery of the household of retired Commander-in-Chief, Liu Xian. The bandits planning the robbery are persuading the younger son of the Flying Fish Island Clan Chief named Tu Hu, to help them because of the superior martial arts of the Liu family. The head bandit entices Tu Hu not only with the promise of plenty of money but with a description of Liu Xian's daughterLiu Zhener  as the village beauty and how he could enjoy her thoroughly as she is "a perfect match for someone as bright as you." Later that same night, the bandits attempt the robbery but Fang Junzhao assists Liu Xian and his daughter, the end result being all the bandits dead and Tu Hu severely wounded and escaping back to Flying Fish Island.
Liu Xian very grateful for Fang Junzhao's help insists that Fang Junzhao elongate his stay at the Liu's home and in addition, teach his daughter swordsmanship. Fang relents and begins teaching Liu Zhener. However after a few days she interrupts her lesson to level with him revealing her father's true intention which is for Fang to replace Zhener's childhood love and former fiancĂ©: Li Yue. Li Yue is the son of the former Commander-In-Chief of ZhejiangLi Tiancong. Li Tiancong became a hero by defeating some Japanese pirates which plagued Huang Jiang. Li Tiancong was then falsely accused and convicted by an Imperial Minister and died in prison. Li Yue murdered the Imperial Minister for revenge and is now wanted by the Imperial Court and must hide and stay on the run. Liu Zhener is resolved never to stop loving Li Yue but is forbidden by her father to search for him. Fang having fallen for Zhener and being a gallant gentleman, he swears that she will forever be his close platonic friend and furthermore he will search for Li Yue to bring the forlorn lovers back together. 

In the meantime Tu Hu has made it back home to Flying Fish Island but unfortunately his wound has taken a serious toll. As he is surrounded by his father, Tu Qianqiu aka The Black Net Devil and his older brother, Tu Long --in answer to his father's question "Who hurt you?" Tu Hu pulls out the dart wounding him, holds ithere on the dart is the killer's name and address. ( I kid you not!) However, Qianqiu's response is quite telling. With his son killer's name and address before him he tells Tu Long to take some men and "go wherever you have to go" and bring me Fang Junzhao of Wudang's head. How he does NOT respond is to gather all of his men to raid Wudang Mountain to revenge his son's death because I think he knows that even the housekeeper at Wudang would kick his men's ass and the senior students would take turns kicking his! So, the movie does not conclude this way but with Tu Long and his Jiao Four and other men take to the road to find Fang Junzhao of Wudang "wherever he may be" So we have Fang Junzhao and Tu Long, both on "THE TRAIL OF THE BROKEN BLADE" both looking for men but for very different reasons and you can bet with very different results!
t up to his father but then falls dead dropping the dart on the ground. Tu Long in anguish cries out "Dad, Hu'er is dead but he didn't tell us who killed him!" At this, Qianqiu picks up the dropped dart wipes off his son's blood and

THE TRAIL OF THE BROKEN BLADE (1967) is written and directed by Chang Cheh and unfortunately is NOTone of his better efforts although to be fair he is trying to crank them out at a Hong Kong movie production's speed which is quite challenging, numbering more that a dozen in a single year.  The cast is top notch for the studio at the time with heartthrob Kiu Chong playing Fang Junzhao of Wudang, Jimmy Wang Yu as Li Yue, andChin Ping as Liu Chen'er renewing the chemisty between the two (her and Wang Yu). Paul Wei Ping Ao does an excellent job as Shi Gan "the fearless" in a rare role as a good guy (though not all good). The villains have top notch representation as well: Tien Feng as Tu Qianqiu Chief of Flying Fish Island, Chen Lung Lieh as elder son, Tu Long, Wang Kuang-Yu as the younger son, Tu Hu.
FUTURE STAR GAZING: more stars than you can shake a stick at including Liu Chia-LiangTong Gaai,Paang PaangCliff LokLau Kar WingWu MaFan Mei ShengCheng Lui, and the lovely Lisa Chiao Chiao who actually has a nice size role in this movie.

FIGHT TIME!: Normally I would be very excited about 'FIGHT TIME!" the section where I talk about the number and quality of the fights scenes in the movie. Unfortunately (yes, again) this is a major failing of the movie and I suspect is a self-inflicting wound. Kiu Chong while the Shaw Brothers Studio heartthrob SUCKS BIG TIME AS A FIGHTER. His fight scenes are horrible. Even Chin Ping outfights him! What I mean by "self- inflicting" is seeing how bad Kiu Chong looked Chang Cheh probably limited his use of Kiu Chong as a fighter in favor of the much more athletic Wang Yu but with Kiu Chong as the bigger star had to also use less fight scenes. As it pertains to Wang Yu, his performance is up to his usual high standard for the time but I counted only 4 (four) legit fight scenes in this a 1 hour and 44 minute movie, and it includes the long finale. This, for me, is a red flag and takes this film out from being a martial arts movie to being a movie with some martial arts. Not good.

All things considered, I can only honestly recommend this movie as a COMPLETE COLLECTOR'S BUY only. If you are not collecting all of the Shaw Brothers movies I do not recommend you buy this one. Also if you do not have 1 hour and 44 minutes to spare to watch this movie for free, keep in mind you will never get that time back. Invest your time wisely.




The cast (and crew) of TIGER BOY (1964) are reunited in THE MAGNIFICENT TRIO (1966). Tiger Boy was "an experiment" in a new genre of movies Run Run Shaw allowed Chang Cheh to engage in so long as he kept the expenses low. Chang Cheh wrote the screenplay for Tiger Boy and directed the movie with a new male lead actor and no action director and shot the film in black and white. Although produced in 1964 it only saw a limited release after the overwhelming success of Come Drink With Me in 1966. I would love to see this film if it ever turns up on the movie market. Only time will tell.

For THE MAGNIFICENT TRIO (1966) Chang Cheh had the full studio budget behind him as he scripted and directed a tale of a corrupt county magistrate and a desperate village driven to the edge of their hope as they are surrounded by the eminent end of their existence. As skillful as Chang Cheh was as a director he clearly had a supreme talent for characterization as you can't help but care what happens to nearly each character you encounter except for the villains whom you personally want to add your foot to each and every villain's ass.

THE MAGNIFICENT TRIO takes place during the twilight of the Ming Dynasty as the Han people begin to lose their self rule to being dominated by the Manchu. A fierce battle is lost by the Ming troops and the Manchu have them surrounded by the border. Lu Fang, the grandson of the Ming general has broken the encirclement intending to apprise the Imperial Minister Yuan (who is also his uncle) of the situation and get reinforcements. On his way to Peking he hears a young woman's cry for help and he investigates and sees 3 men kidnapping the woman but clearly trying not to hurt her. Intervening he learns of the plight of the Mati Village and sympathizes with the villagers against the corrupt county Magistrate Wei Huaire, who is the father of the kidnapped young woman.

Back at the Magistrate's residence the enraged father becomes desperate and determined to use any means necessary to retrieve his daughter and wreck his brand of justice upon her kidnappers. His newly hired protector,Yan Ziqing (a former prisoner) is reluctant to involve himself fully aware of all the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping. The magistrate is advised to use other prisoners who have less of a conscious than Yan Ziqing and this is where we meet the final magnificent: Huang Liang.  Huang Liang is a senior officer and fellow soldier of Lu Fang who also managed to escape the Manchu encirclement but placed himself in prison asking only for food in exchange. He agrees to go along to rescue the young woman knowing only she has been kidnapped. Magistrate Wei Huaire instructs Yang Ziqing to accompany the rest of the former prisoners to keep them from rebelling or escaping. The magnificent trio are on their way to their fated destinations and it is a worthy tale for all movie goers.

The star of THE MAGNIFICENT TRIO is no doubt Jimmy Wang Yu as Lu Fang. Lo Lieh from Temple Of The Red Lotus is back as second banana and Cheng Lui's unforgettable face and physique makes three. Chin Pingis also here from Temple Of The Red Lotus but Margaret Tu Chuan and Fanny Fan Lai as famous as they must have been at Shaw Brothers Studios are unknown to me. For the baddies Lui Ming as Magistrate Wei Huaire and Lee Wan Chung as Magistrate advisor do most of the heavy lifting as the villains but the boys are back in town as with any Chang Cheh directed movie there is plenty of people that need killing and everybody who was somebody seems to have at least a cameo as a body in this movie. Future star gazing sawChen Hung Lieh,Tien FengUnicorn ChanChiu HungFeng Yi, Gam GwanHsu HsiaKok Lee Yan, Lau Kar LeungKu FengLo WaiCliff LokTong GaiWong MeiWu MaYen Shi KwanYuen Woo Ping, and Yuen Cheung Yan and yes, I know I missed some.

Fight time, yeah baby!! Listen up though, the hardest thing about judging these movies is having seen what greatness would come of these fight performances in their future. Liu Chia-Liang (Lau Kar Leung) and Tong Gaai are the martial arts choreographers for THE MAGNIFICENT TRIO and I am woe to criticize their early efforts too harshly because these pioneers crafted fight scenes back then based on the prevalent Peking Operatic fight formulas and with the safety of the participants a major insurance concern. That said, everybody's techniques including the killing techniques were clean, functional and precise for the most part with the exception being some of the multiple killing techniques which sometimes missed their marks but not so much as to ruin the movie. I counted eight (yes, 8!) fight scenes and some minor skirmishes so you definitely got you money's worth in this movie! Pass the popcorn!
If you couldn't already tell I am going to strong recommend THE MAGNIFICENT TRIO (1966) with flying colors. With a great script and strong and plentiful fight scenes I don't even need to tell you that historically this movie marks Cheng Cheh's departure from the Shaw Studios intention of making the women the stars of the martial arts genre. (But I just did.) Cheng Cheh crafted a man's world of heroic bloodshed and brotherhood and loyalty for his wuxia movies and the studio giving the women in his movies top billing could do little to hide his intentions. Long live Chang Chen and so long lived Shaw Brothers Studios!

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Saturday, August 15, 2015



 During the Han Dynasty the Empress Lu wanted her nephew General Lu Kun to rule over the neighboring territory of Zhongdu instead of the current ruler King Dai even though King Dai was loved by the Han commoners. She issued an edict calling for King Dai's execution and for General Lu's to take over of the area with the assistance of Imperial troops. It should have been a cake walk as King Dai had no idea the empress had any such intentions but for THAT MAN IN CHANG-AN. A dart throwing vigilante called THE MASKED MANhas followed the courier from the royal palace to General Lu Kun's residence (I guess he was suspicious of Empress Lu and had been spying on her) just in time to assassinate the courier, steal the edict, escape the resident soldiers barge into King Dai's palace past the king's small army and protective guards and warn the King of the conspiracy. Starting to sound ridiculous yet? Don't worry Yi Cheung is not finished with you. Yes, the same script writer that co-scripted COME DRINK WITH ME (1966) came up with THAT MAN IN CHANG-AN. If you decide to see this movie I assure you --you are in for a wild ride!

No, no, no -- he really says to the King : "I'm the Masked Man." I'm sorry --who the hell else would you be?
So, where were we? Oh, yeah --THE MASKED MAN is in King Dai's palace and trying to warn King Dai of Empress Lu's plans to replace him. The King's body guard and trusted general, General Tian Ying immediately calls THE MASKED MAN a liar and tries to kill him and orders the soldiers to attack him (yes, you are right in what you are thinking.) so he hurls the edict with one of his darts at a wall (not to close to the king, mind you) and tells him that it is Empress Lu's edict and is the prove the king needs that The Masked Man was telling the truth. Having warned the king, off he goes. The edict is retrieved by the Queen's sister Princess Wen Yang and as she hands it over to King Dai she suggests they in addition to preparing for the attack at home they also go to Chang-an for help. And wouldn't you know it, just before The Masked Man barged in, the Queen and King were discussing his mother's poor health and how they wanted to find the great doctor and alchemist(!) Zhuang Bai to treat his mother but where could they find him? Princess Wen Yang suggest she go to Chang-An for help under the guise of finding Zhuang Bai for his mother's treatment and while there get help. King Dai agrees to the idea and sends trusted General Tian Ying to accompany the princess and her maiden Hong Er to Chang-An. But...

"It says we're a 'comedy'. What in the world is a 'comedy'?"
A funny thing happens on the way to Chang-an. The trusted General Tian Ying is actually a traitor paid off by General Lu Kun to make sure things go his way. So General Tian disables the Princess' chariot and the princess and Hong Er fall over a cliff, only to be saved by this fellow Zhuang Bai, the doctor / alchemist they were looking as part two of their mission. So alls well that ends well but wait --there's more!! Hong Er does not trust this strange fellow (ever though the princess has to hint at her twice to not give him certain information) so Hong Er urge the princess to leave before daybreak and get to Chang-an and get help. But wait, when they get outside it is already daybreak and they end up getting caught again, because yeah, all those soldiers are still out there looking for at least, their bodies. So they get rounded up and taken back to Zhongdu. However even though General Tian helps capture Hong Er, Hong Er never tells Princess Wen Yang General Tian is a traitor because that would mess up a plot device set up for later on. By now everybody in the audience knows That Man in Chang-an, The Masked Man, and Zhuang Bai are the same guy and now he has to go to Zhongdu to save these mistrusting, ungrateful bit --uh royal ladies and still figure out how to save King Dai!

"I don't think we really look like men to them!"
Does the above plot summary sound long to you? You are correct sir, this movie clocks in at a loooooong one hour and fifty-one minutes! And unfortunately the acting talents don't make the time seem any shorter. The actors here seem very unremarkable for a Shaw Brothers movie although to be fair, Fang Ying does do a good job as Princess Wen Yang but the part is so typical royalty so it doesn't help the film as a drama.  In addition, with the exception of Tien Feng (King Dai Liu Heng) and Fan Mei Sheng (Cau Wu Winery waiter) only some of the bit part players are familiar to me. Kim Jin-Kyu is That Man in Chang-an / The Masked Man / Zhuang Bai. and Park Nou-Sik plays General Lu Kun. Allyson Chang Yen is the princess' aide Hong Er and they just don't ring a bell. Please let me be clear, their acting doesn't so much suck as it seems suited to something other than a drama. Yes, I am going to get to that in a minute. 

"Why are you all attacking only two at a time?"
But first, let's get to the fights! I counted 8 fight scenes scattered throughout the movie. For the most part, they are short scenes with the exception of the finale. Unfortunately the one and only one notable fight scene featuredAllyson Chang Yen as Hong Er fighting with double daggers against soldiers with spears as she applied very sophisticate maneuvering and quick-kill counters, I was very impressed with this and yes it did remind me of Cheng Pei Pei work in COME DRINK WITH ME (1967) but without the "dance-ness", just strictly slick but practical self-defense. The other fight scenes were by the numbers "one, two, three -kill" sword fights, rarely more than two attackers at a time no matter how many soldiers entered the scene. Watching this twice in a row was just too funny! The finale's under cranking was so last-minute it just looked weak and experimental and it very well could have been. Not good. 

"How much would you expect to pay to watch a movie this bad?"
So there you are, probably just like me when I was as I was writing this, waiting for me to recommend you not waste nearly two hours of your time watching this movie when three things start to bother me.  Number one: the "Keystone Cops" chase scene that opened the movie. Not a fight scene mind you, but a camp comedy chase scene where nobody gets hurt and I experienced a little belly laugh. Number two: Kim Jin-Kyu, the actor selected to play the lead actor really comes off as a comedic actor and not a dramatic hero type, things that make me go hmmmm. Number three: the healing scene with Kim Jin-Kyu and Ayllson Chang Yen. This is the funniest thing I have seen in any movie including full blown comedies --coincidence? What if...

Comedy or Drama?
I am going to recommend THAT MAN IN CHANG-AN (1967) but only as the first Shaw Brothers WUXIA COMEDY! There are just too many laughs that just can't be unintentional. Yes, all of the principal people involved in the production are past away so they cannot be questioned about it but "the proof is in the pudding". This movie is mad funny. With a little more work and deliberation this movie would have been revolutionary as a wuxia comedy in 1967 but also, so far, far ahead of its time. I don't know if Run Run Shaw would have released it because the risk back then would have been inconceivable. A brand new film genre with a brand new twist would have been just too much to gamble on overtly. Watch it and tell me what you think!


Saturday, August 8, 2015



The actual name of The Knight Of Knights is Wen Suchen, the title character of the movie.

During the Ming Dynasty in China, King Jing entered in an agreement with Imperial Eunuch Pei to increase his power and influence in southern China with the ultimate goal being to usurp the power of the Emperor. To this end King Jing has enlisted the aid of the bandit Minkong and his men along with Governor Wang of the southern province of Haimin. Minkong and his men disguise themselves as monks and take over Zhaoqing Monasterylocated in Haimin and use it as a base of operations and fill it with booby traps, secret rooms and an underground chamber. The fake monks then begin kidnapping women like it is free, ending up with almost a dozen women captive bringing a lot of attention to the monastery. Governor Wang for his part has levied unfair taxes of all sorts on the people and has even seized some of their lands unfairly. The people are very upset about this and seek relief.

 Word gets to The Emperor and he asks Imperial Inspector Lin to investigate the southern provinces. Inspector Lin sends a letter to his nephew (Wen Suchen of the Seven Men Of Dragon School) asking him to investigate Zhaoqing Monastery. As luck would have it however Wen Suchen's mother is ill at the time he receives the letter so he sends his six classmates ahead of him to investigate in his stead.  Although the six classmates are highly trained in martial arts they are no match for the hit and run tactics, the booby traps as well as the great number of men at the monastery and are wiped out but with one classmate escaping barely clinging to life. It is there dying along the road on his way to Zhaoqing Monastery that Wen Suchen discovers his barely alive classmate and learns of their fate. After a briefly worded warning the classmate dies as well. Wen Suchen is left with his two young students to go undercover to Zhaoqing Monastery to bring this whole case to a close for his uncle Inspector Lin and the emperor.

If elements of this scenario sounded familiar to you it is because you saw it all before in TEMPLE OF THE RED LOTUS and THE TWIN SWORDS (1965) both recently released before THE KNIGHT OF KNIGHTS.  The USA television network NBC used to say: "If you haven't seen it; then it's new to you!" But still, with such rehashed plot devices how did Shaw Brothers think it could fill the seats for this movie? Well, let's start with the male Hong Kong heartthrob in Chiao Chuang (aka Kiu Chong) as the movie's headliner Wen Suchen. Next let's add some Taiwanese sizzle with the voluptuous Lily Ho as his cousin and love interest in a partial nude scene which was very much the talk of the day.  (In fact, I think this very movie is responsible for most martial art movies to begin to have a soft porn scene included in them.)  Now --dash in a cameo with the lovely Li Ching who was billed in the original trailer as "Asia Movie Queen" and who the fans nicknamed in fact "Baby Queen" and was given top billing as a special guest star in the credits and you've got a pretty sure bet people will come to see this movie!

THE KNIGHT OF KNIGHTS did not take any unnecessary chances on untalented cast members in minor roles either. For the good guys they had veteran director and actor Lee Ying as Inspector Lin, Cheng Liu (very short muscle-guy). Chen Hung-LiehChiu Hung (you know him as the Samurai from 5 Fingers of Death), and Wang Kuang-Yu (you've seen him in everything but don't know his name) as the Men of the Dragon School, the monkey king, himself --Chow Lung-Cheng as one of Wen Suchen's two students and Cliff Lok (the future Kung Fu Genius) as the other. For the bad guys they have veteran actor, director and screen writer Tang Ti as Abbot Minkong, and veteran master-villain player Lee Wan-Chung as Governor Wang.  Future star gazing spotted Lily LiKu Feng,Yuen Siu-TinLittle UnicornYuen Wo-PingFung Ngai, and Fan Mei-Sheng.

Fight time and the news is not good. I counted only Five fight scenes plus the assassination attempt on the Imperial Inspector which was very short so I will say five and a half fight scenes. This is really not that bad. It is enough for legit kung fu movie and two of the fight scenes were of a good length so no danger there with boredom. The problem is with the quality of the fights. With the exception of Cliff Lok's solo battle with the guards at Zhaoqing Monastery the fights were very poorly done with the real martial artist looking only slightly skilled and the non-martial artists looking like they had somewhere else to go so "kill me quickly" with the fight extras dying almost before they could have possibly been struck. Why was no fight choreographer used for this movie? I... don't... know. This was a mistake. 

This is the first Shaw Brothers movie I am going to not recommend be watched for the entertainment value and certainly not for the fight scenes. The lack of originality in plot and very lazily done fight scenes just will not allow me to do it. However this movie does have a lot going for it. It is certainly well cast and the acting in it is good for its day. Also historically the partial nudity is note worthy and makes it a collector's "must have". So if you buy it, go ahead and keep it in the plastic so it is worth more money.

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