2 October 2005 | youngvagabond
I was a skeptic... I was wrong. Completely lives up to it's reputation.
I have been a huge fan of HK action films for many years and have amassed a collection of 500+ kung fu films. Have heard about this film since forever, and assumed it was ground- breaking, influential, yada yada yada... but never really sought it out. I guess 'cause it's older than most and it's a swordplay film rather than all out kung fu action the likes of which Chang Cheh later specialized in (i.e. the Venoms films). However, finally having sat down and watched the remastered rerelease, I was absolutely blown away. One of the most emotionally intense HK films I have seen. Ignore naysayers... they must be heartless robots. Dramatically it is certainly on par with Lau Kar Leung's own films, and bears unmistakable thematic connections to his body of work (especially 8 Diagram Pole Fighter). Not to mention it's wonderfully filmed. If scenes are too dark, you just have a bad copy. The restored Celestial version is beautifully dark and vivid... no problem following the action. And there is plenty of action. Choreography is slightly dated, but it's 1967! The fighting is easily as good as anything from the era. And yes, I've seen the films the other reviewer mentions... also great films, but by no means superior fighting-wise. In fact, I'd venture to say it's an important milestone in the progression of kung fu choreography... with the fighting playing a pivotal role in the storytelling. Okay, most days I too would prefer to watch a Venoms movie, with my jaw dropped open in disbelief at the superhuman abilities on display... but come on... this undoubtedly deserves the credit it receives. Any true fan of HK films needs to see this.