Whenever director Chang Cheh teamed up with Five Venoms, film plots were probably decided by flipping a coin - which of the fab five will play the good or bad guys, who lives or dies and which ones will do the fight. The Daredevils was just another example of Shaw Brothers’ sure fire formula to success: Venoms + Chang Cheh = maniacal frenzy x infinity. Of note, the only venom to make it in Hollywood was Kuo Chue, who choreographed the French film Brotherhood Of The Wolf and Michelle Yeoh's The Touch.
In Pale Passion, Chin Ping-hsing's only directed film, the gorgeous Chiang Li-ping plays a scorned wife Ah Hsia in an unsettling tale about cheating, adultery and blatant abuse, which develops into a deadly love triangle. The vivacious Elaine Chin Yen-ling plays the other woman Ah Hsing, who teaches the hypocritical husband Ah Fa (Ai Ti) that what goes around comes around! Unknown to him, karma returns in a much more damaging way...
The "godfather of the kung-fu film", Chang Cheh, hit upon a winning formula when he combined three Taiwanese Opera artists with a muscular Chinese and a Korean kicker. Their first "official" film as stars, THE FIVE VENOMS was a hit, so the director/co-writer decided to launch a series with the same actors in different roles. Supporting this beloved sequel was real-life kung-fu champion Chen Kuan-tai, who Chang Cheh had already made a star. He plays a martial arts master (driven insane by his wife's death and his son's dismemberment), who replaces his child's missing hands with metal versions, then proceeds to blind, deafen, render retarded, and chop off the feet of anyone who even mildly annoys him. The abused bystanders band together and brilliantly train to take their revenge. The result is a totally unbelievable, but totally awesome, super heroic delight.
Chan Kuan-tai, Lu Feng, Kuo Chue, Lo Meng, Sun Chien, Pan Ping-chang
Wang Chung was a valued actor long before he became a director, but as a filmmaker, he helped create some of the most interesting thrillers Shaw Brothers ever released - including this fascinating crime saga of a Sino-Vietnamese crime gang. Danny Lee stars as a misunderstood refugee while Ray Lui plays a cop struggling against his own conscience to ensure that justice is upheld.
Li Hsiu-hsien, Ray Lui, Cheng Tse-shih, Lin Chung-cheng
Director/actor Chan Friend joined award-winning social satirist Alfred Cheung Kin-ting to create and act in this delightful variation on the hugely successful British Carry On! film series. It all takes place at St. Morant Hospital where a harried but lovely administrator (Meg Lam) must deal with lusty interns, chaste (and chased) student nurses, a delirious surgeon, a dissection fiend, a criticizing Commissioner, and gross negligence at regular intervals. This group couldn’t fix anything...but your funny bone.
When super director Chang Cheh found new talent and blood with "The Five Venoms" actors, most of which were trained in the highly acrobatic Chinese opera and well versed with exotic martial arts weapons, this created a new spark for his use of bizarre weapons in his films. The Flag Of Iron is one of 20 movies that he directed featuring the utterly flabbergasting and physically exhausting action bits created by these five dudes. You have the good guys from the righteous clan versus the bad guys from the villainous clan and it's so filled with "don't-blink-or-you-will-miss-something" gags, you will need to watch it over and over again so you can see the things you missed.
Kuo Chui , Chang Sheng , Wang Li , Lu Feng , Lung Tien-chiang
Double Bliss tells the story of two students who fall in love and want to wed, but there is one small snag: their parents don't agree! The two ingenious lovebirds come up with what they think is a foolproof plan...They play dead!
Liang Hsing-po, Ching Li, Chin Feng, Kao Pao-shu, Wei Ping-ou
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
Yang Chuan calls upon China’s centuries-old mythology to create this charming romantic fantasy.. A magical girl who lives in a Chinese umbrella (the glorious Cherie Chung Cho-hung) helps an honorable young man and his uncle to deal with a covetous loan shark.
No team of "Martial Arts World" sword-and sorcery epic-makers ever matched that of exceptional director Chu Yuan and best-selling author Ku Lung. This is one of their most powerful and interesting, giving screen idol Derek Yee one of his most challenging roles. Here, he is the ambitious, proud master of the "Meteor" style of swordsmanship, who is brought to the edge of suicide by betrayal. A good woman saves him and brings him to, literally, the Valley of Happiness. But even that's not enough for the obsessed swordsman, who takes the title weapon (his father-in-law's wedding gift, yet!) and goes on a selfish rampage of violence and sex. Master kung-fu choreographer Tang Chia guides a first rate cast (including king screen villain Wang Lung-wei as the "immortal God of Eagle") in one of their most memorable productions.
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.
Esteemed director Ho Meng-hua attained cult status among kung-fu film fans in the West with his wild and wacky martial arts hit THE FLYING GUILLOTINE. His unique directing approach focused more on the devastating nature of the horrific weapon than the kung-fu fights. One of Shaw Brothers' biggest kung-fu stars at the time, Chen Kuan-tai plays the leader of the ‘Flying Guillotine Squad’ a group of hand picked killers, commissioned by the Ching Emperor Yung Cheng, that use a deadly, beheading weapon to carry out the emperor's assassination assignments. It's actually based on a true story. Interestingly, the weapon used in the film was a complete fabrication because in real life, no one ever survived to tell what the actual weapon really looked like.
Arguably, the greatest kung-fu film director of all time is Liu Chia-liang. Unarguably the greatest kung-fu film character of all time is Huang Fei-hung. So what do you think would happen when you put these two titanic talents together? You get one of the finest "pure" kung-fu films ever made, with nary a character getting killed, but the thrills coming a mile a minute as two pugilism schools tests each other for a full hundred minutes. Following the director’s only other Huang Fei-hung film, CHALLENGE OF THE MASTERS, Lau returns his dynamic adoptive brother, Gordon Liu Chia-hui, to the leading role, then gives the king of screen villains, Wang Lung-wei, one of his few anti-heroic roles... just in time for a stunning climax unparalleled in its adeptness and invention.
This is Sun Chung's very first film for the Shaw Brothers, making it especially interesting and important. He hit the ground running with this action-filled tale of a :Devil Girl" who is setting one clan against another to get her hands on two amazing mirrors with supernatural powers. Only a noble swordsman (played by Liu Tan) and beautiful swordswoman (played by The Thundering Sword star Shu Pei-pei) can stop her.