Sun Chung had been recognized as an expert comedy and crime thriller director, but he was to gain even greater acclaim for his soulful, powerful, intelligent, and beautifully-made martial arts epics. This stands alongside The Deadly Breaking Sword and The Kung-fu Instructor as one of his very best. It's not so much the plot - a master swordsman protects a treasure chest on a dangerous journey - that makes this great, but what Sun does with it, inspiring the cast and crew to some of their finest work.
This is an extremely rare example of science fiction, Hong Kong style. But fittingly, it's unlike any sci-fi flick you've ever seen. Alien abductions, suicide pacts, superstardom, and the reality of science fiction itself is highlighted in this bright, crazy, and truly out-of-this-world epic--one of the more unusual movies in the Hong Kong cinema of the early 1980s.
After a remarkable career helming such diverse cult favorites as THE FLYING GUILLOTINE and THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN, trusted director Ho Meng-hua started wrapping up his Shaw Studio career with this memorable kung-fu adventure starring internationally renowned David Chiang. While he was best known for his roles as a grinning, streetwise, fighter in many Chang Cheh - directed classics, David Chiang rarely played a noble warrior monk, making this production all the more notable. Here he portrays the great Chih Shim, the monk who saved the Southern Shaolin Temple from the Ching Government and traitors alike. Shaw's first international star, Lo Lieh, returns to the role he also made famous - that of Shaolin renegade Pai Mei. Rounding out the superlative action cast is the "first lady of Shaw kung-fu," Lily Li, as one of Monk Chih Shim's best allies. They unite for a true martial arts epic of the first order.
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.
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.
Acclaimed director Ho Meng-hua tackles fantasy in The Human Goddess, a genre bending film that features a love story between an alluring female fairy, played by the real life sexy goddess Li Ching, who seeks love in the world of mortal men and finds it in a man who takes care of an orphanage. Ho was one of the first directors to give Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung their first breaks as extras in his early martial arts films.
Accomplished film director Ching Siu-tung not only received international acclaim for his A CHINESE GHOST STORY film trilogy, but is also considered one of Hong Kong's top action directors and is regarded to be the father of the outlandish wire stunts and sight gags that Hong Kong film is so recently noted for. In MONKEY KUNG FU, Ching plays Wei Chun, a wayward underachiever that is given the key to unlock the secret of the gibbon fists tactic. Besides being the film's martial arts instructor, bearing first hand witness to Ching's remarkable martial arts skills on screen makes this movie a once in a lifetime catch.
The beautiful phantom Hsiao Chien has haunted readers since her appearance in the classic haunted story collection, Strange Stories From A Chinese Studio. Many film makers have tried to adapt the tales, but none have captured the eerie, horrific beauty as well as this expressive, vivid, ethereal and haunting production. It is given extra significance by its star, the enchanting Betty Loh Ti who committed suicide later.
The venerated Sun Chung made many different kinds of films for Shaw Brothers, including popular and renowned satirical comedies, contemporary action dramas, and magnificent martial arts movies. This is one of his last of the latter for the studio, so he wanted to have fun... and let the audience share it. Toward that end he cast international favorite Alexander Fu Sheng as the title character who keeps testing the patience (and kung-fu skills) of his father, a small town bonesetter and herbal healer played by award-winning character actor Ku Feng. But when a local dignitary not only smuggles drugs but plans to give a Chinese treasure away to evil outsiders, the father and son unite to take on foreign fighters and even Japanese ninja in a non-stop display of comic action prowess.
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
Like many of the swordsman films of the sixties, The Magnificent Swordsman centers on the hero vowing vengeance against evil bandits that killed his family when he was a child. Influenced by Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai, the hero (played by Huang Tsung-shun who starred in Bruce Lee's Fist Of Fury), recruits several friends to help peasants rid their village of marauding bandits, the leader of course being the man that killed his family.
Shu Pei-pei, Huang Tsung-hsing, Tien Feng, Ching Miao
A Chinese man (Liu) marries a Japanese woman through an arranged marriage and manages to insult all of her Japanese martial arts family by issuing a challenge to her that is misinterpreted by the others. He must then prove how good Chinese Kung Fu really is through a series of duels with the seven Japanese martial artists who come to meet the challenge!
When Shaw Studio decided to produce an epic about the famous Italian explorer Marco Polo and his meeting with Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan, they turned to one of their most famous and respected directors. Chang Cheh, who had already proven himself by making such sweeping sagas as ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS, co-wrote this adventure of four Han blood brothers and their quest to avenge their comrade's killing at the hands of three sadistic Mongol warriors. He then surrounded famed Caucasian actor Richard Harrison (as Marco Polo) with the best the Shaw Brothers kung-fu film units had to offer, including future lead "Venom" Kuo Chue, "Master Killer" Gordon Liu Chia-hui, and "Thundering Mantis" Liang Chia-jen. The result is a splendid historical tale as well as a superlative martial arts thriller.