This film was actually a lively forerunner to the gambling film craze, which eventually swept Asian cinema. Here, it's cardsharp versus cardsharp with a lot more kung-fu action, in a battle of wits and fists to become the king of the casino. The double stings and triple crosses raise in complexity and imagination until what started as an unusual box office risk became a top ten hit of 1976.
On a continent which reveres its martial arts, the director's nickname is "Kung-fu Liang" - holder of a filmography unprecedented in its innovation of theme, ingeniousness of plot, and imagination of its astonishingly designed kung-fu. This production is clearly the culmination of his initial Shaw Brothers work - the film which he used as a showcase for his and his brothers' - Chia-yung and Gordon Lui - skills. In the premiere, groundbreaking book on the genre, Martial Arts Movies, author Ric Meyers called it "the quintessential martial arts movie" and perhaps the greatest kung-fu movie ever made. Showing prescience customary with this visionary, the plot revolved around early 20th century pugilists vainly attempting to find a kung-fu which could defeat the bullet... years before the same theme would be used in Once Upon A Time In China. It also features the rarely dramatized magician-spies of China, who would ultimately inspire the Japanese ninja. But most importantly, it is a beautifully made action comedy featuring international fan favorite Alexander Fu Sheng and supremely brilliant kung-fu.
Liu Chia-liang , Liu Chia-yung , Hui Ying-hung , Gordon Liu
The lovely Li Hsiang-chun stars as a poor beauty who has been drugged, ravished, lied to, locked in a burning store room, left to drown, and chased by sword-wielding ruffians. Her only hope is her betrayer's new wife, played by the strong and sensual Ivy Ling Po. Dawn may come, but the question is: will it be too late?
Yueh Hua, co-star of Clan Of Amazons and Clans Of Intrigue, tears up the screen as a corrupt magistrate, so obsessed with finding a hidden treasure that he not only jails and tortures his daughter's lover, but buries his daughter alive as well! Ironically, it is in her coffin that the secret to the hidden treasure is revealed, setting off a frenzy of destruction. Kung-fu choreographers Chen Ti-ke and Hsu Hsia have their hands full with this tale of martial arts masochism.
Skilled shadow boxer Ku Ting hides his skills by working as a construction worker. But when the thugs assault his girlfriend, Ku Ting has no choice but to use his teachings to show his enemies what it takes to keep justice in line.
Director Hsu Cheng-hung, much credited with the revolution of wuxia cinema in the 1960s returns to offer up another genre-bending take on the martial arts movie. This time it's Romeo and Juliet in the Chinese underworld! When Grand Master student Yu Chien-wen (Chang Yi) falls for Chiao Chiao (the dazzling and energetic Cheng Pei-pei), the daughter of arch enemy, the Poison Master, we know they are in for trouble. And when Chiao Chiao kills another clan in Yu's name, the Grand Master's clan is unable to stand by. But Yu is too much in love to obey orders...
Director Yueh Fung presents this tragic love story about two star-crossed lovers; Ivy Ling Po is a housewife who is constantly abused by her husband both physically and mentally, and Chin Feng, Ling's adopted brother-in-law, is a mute. When he secretly falls in love with her, and risks everything he has to rescue her, things begin to take a downturn. Chin won the Outstanding Performance Award at the Golden Horse Awards in 1971 for this role.
Julie Yeh Feng gets to perform on a melodramatic platform to showcase her versatility in this poignant tearjerker. Yeh plays socialite Pai Li-lan, whose life is disrupted when she contracts severe tuberculosis. It is under harsh, trying circumstances that love unexpectedly blossoms between Li-lan and Chang Chih-ping (Ling Yun), the music teacher of her daughter Chin Shiao-lan (Fung Bo-bo). Unfortunately, the odds are stacked sky-high against their love. Can love essentially be enough to see them through?
Asian fans of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon recognized that its director Ang Lee was actually inspired by director Chu Yuan and novelist Ku Lung's wonderful tales of a "martial arts world" where all wushu warriors try to attain the "Deer Sword" and escape from the insidious maze-like "Toy Land." Master kung-fu choreographer Tang Chia leads the king and queen of Shaw - Ti Lung and Lily Li - to engage in a fascinating and entertaining swordplay adventure of consummate swordsmen and sorceresses.
Cherie Chung Cho-hung, one of Shaw Brothers' most glamorous stars of the 80s has never been better showcased than this romantic vehicle. As a Flashdance-style teacher caught in a love triangle, Chung is radiant and erotic - especially in the steamy love scenes with Tony Leung Kar-fai.