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.
Famed actor/director Yen Chuan helmed this martial arts melodrama of a lady-warrior who raises the son of the swordsman who scorned her, but arranges to have his sister raised by her sworn enemy, hoping to make the unknowing twins kill each other in a death duel. Essie Lin Chia is the evil lady-warrior while Lily Ho and Kao Yuen reunite after starring together in The Golden Knight for this suspense thriller of familial love gone wrong.
Kung-fu and drama merge in this unusually poignant and popular action film from the golden age of martial arts. Lo Lieh is given one of his most memorable roles as a tough gas station attendant who plots to kidnap his boss's son, only to find himself and his girlfriend (Hu Chin) enmeshed in a web of greed and murder from which it is impossible to break free.
Lo Lieh, Hu Chin, Liu Wu-chi, Tung Lin, Lin Wei-tu
When Chang Cheh created "heroic bloodshed" swordsman films, he changed martial arts cinema by having more male than female characters in the genre. The Silver Fox is a throwback, the last of its kind where the heroic swordsmen are women. Lily Ho (before she became one of Shaw Brothers' great erotica actresses) portrays the feared swordswoman Silver Fox, who witnessed her father senselessly wounded and her mother raped. It's 18 years later and it's payback time.
When the husband of a doctor, Tung, (Anita Yuen), is fatally wounded in an accident, he reveals to her about his affair with Blackie (Josie Ho), who is impregnated with his baby. Despite the devastation of the betrayal and the eventual death of her husband, Tung is pressured by her mother-in-law into putting up with Blackie and offer $1M for her baby...
Anita Yuen, Cheung Chi-lam, Deanie Yip, Ho Chiu-yee
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.
No list compiled of all the screen's comic geniuses would be complete without Michael Hui. He created a hilarious and lovable comic persona that was both uniquely Asian and universally beloved. The Warlord, his first film, not only showcased his incomparable sense of humour but also a revolutionized Hong Kong comedy. Evoking Chaplin, he plays a warlord in early 20th century China, but makes the role his own with comedy. Some of the sexiest ladies on the Shaw Brothers lot add on to the ingenuity of the movie.
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
It's a no-holds-barred battle to the death for possession of the invaluable Purple Sword. Assistant director Wang Po-yi also wrote this entertaining and exciting adventure which could have also been called "The Five Tigers" since there's no doubt that this quintet is the highlight of the action. Huang Tsung-shun is "Fierce Tiger," Hung Liu is "Drunk Tiger," Hsu Erh-niu is "Lame Tiger," award-winning actor Ku Feng is "One-eyed Tiger" and respected director/actor Wu Ma is "Sick Tiger" in a tangle of tussles and thrills.
Chang I, Chen Hung-lieh, Shu Pei-pei, Essie Lin Chia
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.
Costume drama auteur Li han-hsiang adapts thee erotic and mystic tales from the Chinese classical literatures and visualizes them on screen into an instant cult classic. Starring the hottest stars Tien Ni, Hu Chin, Chen Ping, Yang Chun, and Yueh Hua, the stories span across time from the Tang to Ming dynasties, filled with exotic characters such as emperors, concubines, monks, and fortune-tellers, intertwined in a world of adultery, lust and greed. Costume drama buffs should not miss it.