When Ti Lung left Shaw Brothers, he dropped his stereotyped "lone swordsman" persona from the past six years and has since ventured into films with social themes. In his directorial debut, Young Lovers On Flying Wheels, Ti Lung replaces the "sword" with a motorcycle and then chooses the girl and happiness instead of dueling and a lonesome existence.
Tang Chia is considered one of the greatest kung-fu choreographers ever, but he only directed three movies of his own. The first two were weird and wonderful kung-fu phantasmagoricals, but this, his last, is not only his greatest, but one of the greatest ever. Ti Lung, in one of his finest performances, plays Tieh Chiao-san, head of the Ten Kwangtung Tigers, who falls victim to opium, the title drug which crippled China. The tragedies and drama that ensue are as stunning as the kung-fu, created by a superlative team of six martial artists. It leads to a truly unforgettable climax, as a trembling Tieh, still weak from going cold turkey, must face the gangsters who have ruined his town while he was addicted. A legitimate masterpiece and one of the finest, most effecting martial arts movies Shaw Brothers ever produced.
Made at the peak of the martial arts film craze, BLOOD BROTHERS stands out against the run-of-the-mill kung-fu flicks that flooded the market in the 1970s. It would be hard to find more legendary names in front of and behind the camera: director Chang Cheh, who virtually reinvented the genre; the brilliant martial arts choreography by Liu Chia-liang, before he himself embarked on a directorial career; and the number one buddy team in kung-fu, Ti Lung and David Chiang, joined by Shaw Brothers newest superstar, Chen Kuan-tai. Set in the waning years of the Ching Dynasty, Blood Brothers tells of one of the most sensational scandals in Chinese history, the assassination of a provincial governor (Ti Lung) by his lieutenant and sworn brother (David Chiang). Ti Lung, in a complex role that allowed him to flex his thespian muscles, was honored with Golden Horse Award of Outstanding Performance.
It's a fact: the greatest martial arts movie character is Huang Fei-hung. But it's quite possible the second greatest character is "Beggar Su", one of the famous Ten Kwangtung Tigers, and a legendary Ching Dynasty figure. Little known director Liu Shih-yu decided to fill his telling of the character's life story with the best kung-fu actors Shaw Studios had to offer. He reunited the stars of Liu Chia-liang's landmark Dirty Ho -- Gordon Liu Chia-hui, Wang Yu, and Wang Lung-wei--added such other greats as multi-award-winning Ku Feng and Pai Piao, then gave workhorse Lo Chiang his shot as choreographer. Together they made a rare, colorful, action-packed adventure as Beggar Su and his brother train incessantly to defeat the brutally powerful thief called Centipede. Finally, after much death and destruction, Gordon Liu Chia-hui and Wang Lung-wei get a memorable rematch to follow their classic masterpieces in Dirty Ho and Martial Club. The result is not only reminiscent of preeminent director Liu Chia-liang's work, but essentially an homage to him as well!
Linda Lin Dai struggles with The Blue forces of freedom, love, the sea and the sky, and The Black, the bottomless pit of evil. Lin’s poignant performance is memorable, however, it is that of newcomer Angela Yu Chien, who was named Best Supporting Actress. Part I ends with a literal cliffhanger, setting the stage for the equally memorable Part II.
In the days before Bruce Lee became a superstar, the greatest heroes in Hong Kong cinema were not just one man, but two: the majestic Ti Lung and the charismatic David Chiang, who were made stars by Chang Cheh. The year after they exploded into superstardom in the director's landmark teen rebellion action film, Vengeance, they returned in this mano-a-mano classic which contained many of themes that made them famous. A wealthy man is murdered. An adopted son struggles with familial fears. A mysterious, charming, streetwise knight-errant named "Rambler" always turns up in the nick of time. The two protagonists distrust each other until they survive a trial by fire (and fists). Then, side by side, they must face dozens of duplicitous killers from without and within. With the support of action choreographer Liu Chia-liang, this "Iron Triangle" of a director and his two stars creates another winner.
In the mid-1980's Chu Yuan became internationally famous for starring as the nasty villain in Jackie Chan's groundbreaking worldwide hit, POLICE STORY. But for more than twenty-five years, he was famous as one of Hong Kong’s most respected directors of "Martial-art World" epics — often conceived by his remarkable collaborator, novelist Ku Lung. This was one of their last together for the Shaw Brothers Studio, but it's another revenge and mystery-tinged winner. Liu Yung and Sun Chien (the Korean kicking THE FIVE VENOM from Chang Cheh's internationally popular series) team to investigate the martial-art murders of a supposedly mortally wounded swordsman, only to find deception, double-dealings, imposters, and one deadly duel after another. No less than three choreographers are on hand to handle the multitude of martial arts, making this one of Chu Yuan's most involving and exciting efforts ever.
Hong Kong rhapsody is a musical extravaganza full of song and dance! Peter Chen-Ho stars as a playboy magician who changes his ways after he becomes the guardian of a young singer (Li Ching), the daughter of a deceased magician friend.
It's back to the Shaolin Monastery for one of the most unusual action-packed tales to invade its hallowed halls. Lo Lieh is the ringleader of the Snake Sect, intent on reviving a particularly deadly faction known as the "Five Poison Web" (which is also THE WEB OF DEATH's Chinese title). To achieve his ends, he has an affair with the sexy ringleader of the Scorpion Sect, Angela Yu Chien. But there is also the Centipede Sect to contend with, as well as other assorted martial artists, among them such top Shaw Brothers talents as Yueh Hua, Ching Li, and Lily Li. Under the fluid direction of Chu Yuan and action choreographers Tang Chia and Yuen Cheung-yan (member of the martial arts world's esteemed Yuen Family and brother of Matrix master Yuen Woo-ping), THE WEB OF DEATH goes places where no other Shaolin kung-fu movie has gone before or since.
After beating several famous swordsmen, Chin Wu-hsin (Pai Piao) of the Mo Shan clan challenges Supreme Swordsman (Wang Jung) to a duel, hoping to win his title, and is beaten and humiliated. The winner taunts him to find a Supreme Sword made by Old Eagle, a famous sword-maker (Ku Feng). When his offer to buy a sword from Old Eagle, is turned down, he challenges Old Eagle to a duel, and snatches his sword in a foul play. Old Eagle's own son Shih Yen-peh (Derek Yee) vows to avenge for his father...
This sequel to The Empress Dowager surpasses its predecessor in some ways. The attention to historic detail in the sets and costumes is everything one expects from director Li Han-Hsiang, the master of the costume drama. Variety hailed the production as "lavish, the script tightly packed"; Variety also concluded that the "filmmaker's efforts to try to make things perfect, to put his audience back in the days of the Empress Dowager and her son, have come off once again."
As the names of Chang Cheh and Liu Chia-liang became legendary, all-too-often the name of their equally valued collaborator, Tang Chia, is omitted. That may be, because, unlike the previous pair, the veteran kung-fu choreographer only went on to direct three movies of his own. Of course, that makes this trio all the more special, and this first effort perhaps the most special of all. It may be an eye-filling, mind-bending martial arts tale of two royal princes battling for the rightful recovery of the throne, but it's also a party, where Tang invites two cinematographers, three editors, and no less than five other choreographer friends to almost literally shoot the works. The results are kung-fu configurations not only never seen before, but never even imagined!