4 Stars
Year Released: 1983
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 98 minutes
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This is the good shit. If you`re one of those people who saw “Kill Bill” and want to know more about this Gordon Liu character and the Shaw Brothers brand of kung fu, you absolutely must watch this movie. Presented in a beautiful new 35mm print every last gorgeous Technicolor frame drips the requisite action, adventure and style one has come to expect from a Shaw Brothers movie.

Set during the Song Dynasty in China, the film follows the heroic Yang family as General Yang and his seven valiant sons are betrayed by the traitorous Pang Mei who seeks to invade their territory and decimate their reputation. Plotting with the Mongol hoards (denoted by their leopard print togas) he lays a trap and kills all but brothers 5 and 6. Brother 6 has gone mad and returns home to his mother and two sisters (7 and 8) who are no slouches at the kung fu themselves. Brother 5 Chia-liang (Gordon) Liu) decides (rather inexplicably) to become a monk and learn the Shaolin technique of Pole fighting which he will eventually use to defeat Pang Mei and restore honor to his family.

However, the plot is only a tiny fraction of what keeps you watching. Watch it instead for the jaw dropping fight choreography and some of the most entertaining (if not especially large budgeted) action sequences this side of the Pacific. Highlights include villains with weapons that look like bendy straws, a bamboo pole “cannon”, a fight involving an articulated wooden dog with metal teeth, a tower of coffins filled with adversaries and an amazing fight sequence in the monastery where brother 5 proves his worth to the Abbott.

If you like good action and aren`t above a little silliness, do what you can to see this movie in a theatre. It may be one of the great joys in your young life.

Posted on December 15, 2004 in Reviews by

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