It's Meng Yuan-wen (star of The Master Strikes) versus Kuan Feng in this wild and wacky wushu saga of a priceless pole with a spectacular secret. A master martial artist's silly disciple struggles to save it from an evil white slaver, the slaver's duplicitous wife, and even his own bone-headed, but greedy, companion. Hsu Hsia choreographs the abundant action, as he had for both Five Superfighters and Drunken Master. The result is both sublime (for its kung-fu) and engagingly ridiculous.
Meng Yuan-wen, Chin Huang, Pan Ping-chang, Kuan Feng
The swordsman genre well under way, even directors like the es¬tablished Yueh Feng, who had directed romance stories since 1938, gave it a spin. THE BELLS OF DEATH, a whirlwind story about a man who embarks on a life long journey to learn the sword then find and eliminate the three men who killed his family and abducted his sister, features an appearance of relatively new Shaw Brothers' faces hoping to make the grade and become the next Jimmy Wang Yu, David Chiang or Ti Lung. Amidst fountains of blood and guts, actor Wu Ma rang true as his bells of glory eventually tolled. He went on to star in 180 movies (including several with Jackie Chan and Jet Li) and become one of Hong Kong's premiere, new wave, ghost story film directors.
This glorious pageantry was awarded Honourable Mention for Drama at the 2nd Golden Horse Awards. Li Li-hua gives a magnificent performance as Wu Tse-tien, the most famous woman in China's more than four thousand year history. The screen fairly bursts with royalty, intrigue, tragedy, and triumph as the script charts her from her teenage years to old age.
Li Li-hua, Chao Lei, Chiao Chuang, Lo Chi, Yu Feng-chi
The last ruler of Tang, Li Yao (Chen Chia-chi) is deposed by Chao Kuang-jun (Wang Jung), the founder of the Sung Dynasty. Unfortunately his actions unleash a new plague - his brother Kuang-yi (Chao Kuo) - on the courts and his people. The marauding Kuang-yi rapes and plunders. As more people get involved, it turns into a bloody battlefield of betrayal. It is up to upright officials like Li Lang (Liu Yung) to put an end to it. But can one man take on the imperial army?
Liu Yung, Liu Hsueh-hua, Lung Tien-hsiang, Chao Kuo
Based on the classic Ming Dynasty novel The Water Margin, Three Sinners is a Huangmei Opera about love, betrayal, murder, and redemption. Starring Hong Kong's premiere movie couple, it is one of the grandest Eastmancolor-Shawscope costume musicals in the Shaw Brothers library.
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...
Yen Chuan plays the weak emperor, whose obsession with his consort, Yang Kwei Fei (Li Li-hua) makes him ignore the running of the country and leave the reins to his Prime Minister Yang Kuo-chung (Yang Chi-ching), who also happens to be Yang Kwei Fei's brother. Unfortunately, the cruel Prime Minister's selfish decisions leave the empire in shambles. The Magnificent Concubine is one exquisite production not to miss!
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.
The "godfather of the kung-fu film", Chang Cheh, has made many famous films. He was also famous for creating the "Venom" film series, starting with THE FIVE VENOMS and ending with HOUSE OF TRAPS. But one of the most treasured and beloved of his later films is this unusual "semi-Venom" film – in that it showcased only three of the standard five venoms. The spectacular action and intrigue starts when Kuo Chue, as the only son of an executed anti-Ching patriot, uncovers a sword, training manual, treasure map, and a secret message. The kung-fu which ensues is as impressive as it is glorious.
Respected veteran director Li Han-hsiang capped it all off with this fascinating period drama of royal intrigue. Li Kun plays the ingenious Lord Liu, whose intelligence is envied by the Emperor (Liu Yung).
The pre-eminent martial art moviemaker Liu Chia-liang (a.k.a. Lau Kar-leung) came up with the novel idea for this exciting and hilarious kung-fu clash between an old-fashioned kung-fu master and a hip and beautiful marketing wiz.
Liu Chia-liang, Hui Ying-hung, Liu Chia-hui, Chang Chan-peng