Ask any martial arts movie aficionado for his or her list of all-time action greats, and there's a good chance that Killer Clans ranks somewhere near the top. Based on a popular swordplay novel, Killer Clans (whose Chinese title literally translates into the poetic "Meteor, Butterfly, Sword") has enough conspiracies, stratagems, and sword fights to make even non-action fans happy. They are masterfully staged by Yuen Cheung-yan, brother of Matrix martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping. The cast includes some of Shaw Brothers' leading swordsmen and swordswomen, and they bring to life the novel's epic battles between underground clans, where the line between good and evil is not always so clear-cut or obvious.
After a remarkable career helming such diverse cult favorites as THE FLYING GUILLOTINE and THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN, trusted director Ho Meng-hua started wrapping up his Shaw Studio career with this memorable kung-fu adventure starring internationally renowned David Chiang. While he was best known for his roles as a grinning, streetwise, fighter in many Chang Cheh - directed classics, David Chiang rarely played a noble warrior monk, making this production all the more notable. Here he portrays the great Chih Shim, the monk who saved the Southern Shaolin Temple from the Ching Government and traitors alike. Shaw's first international star, Lo Lieh, returns to the role he also made famous - that of Shaolin renegade Pai Mei. Rounding out the superlative action cast is the "first lady of Shaw kung-fu," Lily Li, as one of Monk Chih Shim's best allies. They unite for a true martial arts epic of the first order.
This is widely regarded as one of the most controversial and erotic films in Hong Kong cinema. Chu Yuan helmed this 1972 cult classic featuring Lily Ho in her most audacious role as a beautiful and mysterious courtesan caught in a web of sex and murder with her powerful and ruthless madam (Pei Ti). The film's unprecedented genre crossover of lesbian-themed period thriller with eye-popping martial arts is a real screen gem for generations of movie aficionados.
Chief of Wu Tang, Ching Chung (Wang Jung) is beaten and wounded by Head of Wu Ti, Tu Ku (Alex Man Chi-leung) in a 10-yearly duel between these remaining two thriving clans. Tu Ku offers to duel with Ching Chung again in two years, hoping to counter his rival clan's Silkworm Skill. Ching Chung's pupilFu Yu-shu (Liu Yung), finds Yun (Hsu Shao-chiang) to be Ching-chung's illegitimate child, and kills Ching-chung, to frame Yun. He then proclaims himself the new Wu Tang Chief and orders the killing of Yun. Meanwhile, Yun learns Silkworm Skill and finally become a No.1 martial artist, she purges the Wu Tang clan and kills Fu to avenge her father's death.
Hsu shao-chiang, Liu Yung, Wan Tzu-liang, liu Hsu-hua
A love triangle of the first order by one of Shaw's top directors Chin Chien. A psychiatrist falls for one of his patients at the same time another girl proclaims her love for him. An explosive mix of passion and misunderstanding...
A team that ranks high in the pantheon of cult kung-fu flicks is a quintet of martial artists who burst upon the screen in The Five Venoms, followed by Crippled Avengers and other cult classics. The "five venoms" are reunited in Two Champions Of Shaolin, with four of the fab five wreaking havoc on screen and the fifth venom active behind the camera as action choreographer. It's a battle between two Ching Dynasty clans, Shaolin and Wutang. The Shaolin champions are anti-Manchu and, naturally, represent the forces of good as they use their considerable force to crush the devious Wutang clan. The man behind the mayhem, director Chang Cheh, virtually invented the Shaolin genre of kung-fu movies and shows he has more than a few new tricks up his sleeve when unleashing his venomous heroes.
Lo Meng, Wang Li, Sun Chien, Chiang Sheng, Wen Hsueh-erh
Cherrie Chung plays Rita, a rich merchant's mistress whose idyllic life as well as her neighbours' are shattered when violence visits the village. Both Rita and the coquettish Mrs. Wang are having affairs with the village postman. One day, Mrs. Wang disappears. A little lame girl, Marble, tells her grandmother that she saw two people quarrelling and one falling into the water one rainy night. When the police find no evidence of foul play, the precocious Marble and her friends carry out their own investigation. She gets in way over her head; now the killer knows there is a witness to his crime.
Cherrie Chung, Ku Feng, Chin Yen-ling, Tang Chen-yeh
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon could be called "Swordswomen Two." Three decades earlier, Shen Yi, Essie Lin Chia, and Pan Ying-tzu took on Shaw's first international superstar, Lo Lieh for the Han Family Sword - making this a four-star treat for action fans.
Shen Yi, Essie Lin, Pan Ying-tzu, Chang I, Lo Lieh
The Boxer Rebellion was one of the most incredible events in China's long history. Infuriated by the Western Imperialist power's intrusion into their country, the masses trusted rabble rousers who maintained that they had developed a kung-fu which was impervious to bullets...leading to wholesale slaughter at the enemies' guns. The "godfather of the kung-fu film," Chang Cheh, was given one of the highest budgets to date to tell this sweeping war story of disillusionment and revenge. Kung-fu choreographer Liu Chia-liang led an all-star fighting cast featuring international favorite Alexander Fu Sheng and Shaw Brothers' villain supreme Wang Lung-wei. Even the most avid fans of BLOODY AVENGERS, the heavily edited U.S. version of this film, will find this uncut, uncropped original a welcome revelation.
One of Hong Kong's top action directors of all time, Liu Chia-liang makes a mind-numbing directorial debut in The Spiritual Boxer, which not only quickly established Liu as a genius director but also encouraged other martial art choreographers to take up the directing reigns. It was also the debut film of kung-fu comedienne Wang Yu as the main character, who in reality was part of Liu’s clan of stars that he personally trained for a film career. Its Ghostbusters meets George C. Scott’s The Flim-Flam Man as Wang plays a fake ghost catcher who catches more than he bargained for. With this film, Liu is also credited with introducing comedy in to the kung-fu genre; the pre-cursor for Jackie Chan's kung-fu comedies.
Ting Chih-hua, pert and pretty, plans to steal a fabulous diamond ring from a shop. She orders the ring and tells the manager, Tang Chi-tu, to deliver it to psychiatrist Chow Tung-ming. He is to impersonate her husband. At the same time, Chih-hua calls on Chow and tells him that Tang, whom she claims is her husband, will be visiting him for treatment. Tang takes the ring to the psychiatrist's clinic. In the waiting room, Chih-hua receives the ring. Tang enters the psychiatrist's office to collect payment for the ring. Since Chow is under the impression that Tang has come to him for consultation, a series of misunderstandings ensue before the two men realize that they have been duped. Chih-hua, in possession of the ring, flies with her brother Wen-hua, from Hongkong to Singapore. To by-pass customs, Chih-hua slips the ring into the pocket of wealthy Chang Chih-yen. In the city Chih-hua and her brother lose Chih-yen and search frantically but unsuccessfully for him. One day, they spot Chih-yen and attractive Jennie Wang by a swimming pool. Chih-hua goes to search Chih-yen's car. Chih-yen and Jennie enter the car and drive off. Chih-hua is discovered inside and she lies that she is an old friend of Chih-yen's. Jennie, jealous and angry, pushes Chih-yen out of the car and drives Chih-hua home. Later, Chih-hua breaks into and ransacks Chih-yen's home for the ring. She is discovered by Chih-yen who hands her a jewel box supposedly containing the ring. On returning home, she finds only a razor in the box. Meanwhile, Chih-yen learns that the ring is stolen property and that Chih-hua's responsible for the theft. Chih-hua again visits Chih-yen at home. There is an amusing incident in which coffee is spilt on Chih-hua's dress and just as she is changing it, Jennie enters the house. Ever suspicion, Jennie dashes out of the place in a huff. Chih-hua and Chih-yen spend the night together. The following day, Chih-hua once more calls on Chih-yen. She reveals that her father is ill and the family is in financial difficulty. She had lied to them that she had gone on a tour of Europe. By now, Chih-yen has fallen for Chih-hua. He contacts Tang and tells him to go to Singapore for payment of the diamond ring. Tang collects his money, everything's settled and Chih-yen and Chih-hua are wed.
After making superstars of Jimmy Wang Yu, Ti Lung, David Chiang, Chen Kuan-tai, and others, esteemed martial arts movie master Chang Cheh decided it was time to cement the stardom of soon-to-be international favorite Alexander Fu Sheng. This film - following the director's SHAOLIN MARTIAL ARTS, FIVE SHAOLIN MASTERS, and DISCIPLES OF SHAOLIN - was clearly Fu's showcase. Rather than sharing the screen, as he had in the previous Shaolin trio, here he was clearly the sole hero, and took full advantage of that fact. He gives both a great dramatic and martial arts performance as an honorable carriage driver who finds love and death when he comes to the rescue of a girl being harassed by particularly venal, homicidal punks. This fight-filled thriller was made even more special by its introduction of the unusual 'Tsai' 'Li' 'Fu' kung-fu style - for which it had its own separate off-stage instructor (Yen Yat liang).
Alexander Fu Sheng, Jenny Tsang, Wang Lung-wei, Liang Chia-jen
This third installment in Shaw Brothers' acclaimed adaptation of the classic novel, Journey To The West is possibly the most exotic of all. Sex and spectacle are combined as our heroes find themselves trapped in the home of the seductive Seven Spiders, who are bent on achieving immortality by eating monks' flesh. There are weird fun and wacky adventures from beginning to end, with the sets and costumes belonging as much to the psychedelic 60s as ancient China.
Also known as Seven Soldiers Of Kung-fu and 108 Heroes, this sequel to the martial arts blockbuster The Water Margin is considered by many kung-fu cultists as even more action-packed than the original. Based on one of China’s enduring epic novels, written in the 14th century, All Men Are Brothers continues the patriotic story of righteous warriors battling despotic leaders, featuring mythic characters familiar to every Chinese, and with a cast that has achieved an equally celebrated status among Shaw Brothers devotees: Ti Lung, David Chiang, Chen Kuan-tai, and Danny Lee. A hard-edged feminine touch is provided by Lily Ho and Betty Chung Ling-ling. The behind-the-camera line-up is also of mythic proportions, with direction by Chang Cheh and no less than four martial arts choreographers, including Liu Chia-liang and brother Liu Chia-yung.
Betty Chung Ling-ling, Ti Lung, David Chiang, Chen Kuan-tai