Jimmy Wang Yu heads the stellar cast from the golden era of Shaw Brothers under the brilliant directing of auteur Chang Cheh, and here underlies their next collaboration on the classic One-Armed Swordsman. The story centers on a swordsman on the run (Wang), with his beloved trailing to find him. The intensive action scenes are beautifully choreographed; setting an example for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the like, 34 years later.
Shaw's and TVB's biggest stars join hands in this ensemble cast tale of the woes of falling headfirst into a hunger chase for money and riches. In 1973, the Hong Kong Heng Seng Index hit extraordinary peaks, and people from all walks of life go stock market crazy. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's social problems pile up without anyone paying any attention to what's happening to the crazy lives of this mad city that so many people call home. An ingenious tongue-in-cheek tale from talented director Chu Yuan.
An Iron Bodyguard (head of a security firm) called Wang Wu (Chen Kuan Tai) meets a scholar (Yueh Hua) and forms a strong friendship with him after fighting some villains together. The scholar is a member of the reformists – a group of scholars pressing for social reform in China towards the end of the Qing dynasty. The Emperor is actually all for reforms, and appoints this group to run the country. This doesn’t suit the Empress Dowager though, as she has no intention of losing her power. She orders the reformists to be arrested, and Wang Wu gets drawn into
the politics despite having no real political views himself.
The movie depicts Fu Hong Xue fighting against the formidable conspirator Master Yu and seeing through his deception. The brilliantly choreographed fights, glorious settings, superb cinematography and strong casts define this movie as a highpoint in Wu Xia cinema.
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.
In Lady With A Sword, Kao Pao-shu showed that women could successfully direct a "heroic swordsman" film using a swordswoman bent on revenge. Kao cast Shaw's darling Lily Ho as the embittered swordswoman searching for the man who murdered her sister. The man turns out to be her fiance' but her nihilistic fate stays true to lone swordswoman form, as to paraphrase Gary Cooper in High Noon, "A woman's got to do what a woman's got to do."
Imagine pint-sized Godzillas fighting the DC Comic superhero "IRONMAN", have Shaw Brothers improve on this outrageous mix by adding kung-fu choreography, and then you have SUPER INFRAMAN, one of the most far-out, fantastical films ever made. Starring the up and coming Danny Lee (who achieved international superstardom in John Woo's THE KILLER), the film pits Lee as the thunderbolt-fisted Inframan battling maniacal monsters from the Earth's center lead by the evil Demon Princess (Terry Liu). Adding to the psychosis is the fast paced fights choreographed by the acclaimed action director Tang Chia, beautiful camera work by He Lan-shan (Bruce Lee's cinematographer in THE WAY OF THE DRAGON), and fights that feature an actor who later starred in kung-fu flicks under the moniker of Bruce Lee.
Shaolin firebrands Fang Shih-yu,Hung Hsi-kuan, and Hu Huei-chien are as famous in Asia as the Three Musketeers are in America and Europe. So when the "godfather of the kung-fu film," Chang Cheh decided to tell their stories with Alexander Fu Sheng, Chen Kuan-tai, and Chi Kuan-chiin the roles, it was cause for celebration. The resulting film is one of the most lauded and beloved in the director's filmography, and remains a highlight in all the stars' careers. Each hero is given his own story, but when they all come together in a final, day-long battle with hundreds of troops, the effect is unforgettable. Although known and loved by American fans as Disciples Of Death, that cropped, dubbed, edited version cannot compare to this magnificent original.
There is a decidedly Japanese flavour to this musical comedy, shot on location in Japan under the direction of Shaw Brothers' number one Japanese import, director Inoue Umetsugu. The star, often called the "Cary Grant of Hong Kong," gives an inspiring performance in this romantic farce, but sadly, it was his last for Shaw Brothers before his untimely death less than a year after the picture release. Even so, it is a fitting testament to his carefree comic talent.
Li Ching, Ouyang Sha-fei, Chin Wei-ling, Peter Chen Ho
Japanese director Inoue Umetsugu takes on the glitzy world of nightclub performers in The Yellow Muffler. The film depicts the struggle of two singing sisters, Ching-ping (Irene Chen I-ling) and Pai-hung (Betty Ting Pei) and ends when they are cast in a new movie.
Betty Ting Pei, Tsung Hua, Paul Chin Pei, Irene Chen
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.
As more people are learning martial arts from Shaolin, the Qing court orders for it to be banned and plans to destroy the temple. The Shaolin disciples decide to take their protest to the streets, using Shaolin skills to curb their hatred, but when the Qing troops start attacking Shaolin Temple, the disciples vow to protect it at all costs.
This intriguing effort has more than a touch of both westerns and detective films in the martial arts mix. It lives up to its title as a noble guard is both attacked by bandits as well as betrayed by a relative. Then it's nephew against uncle, daughter against father, concubine against hero, and the law vs. vigilante justice before the last plot is exposed and the lovers are able to ride off into the sunset...