After defeating The Long-Armed Devil and his armies, our nubbed hero has been living in retirement as a farmer, but circumstances causes him to come out of retirement and take on The Eight ... See full summary »
Having never seen the sequel to The One-Armed Swordsman (1968), I was in for quite a shock. To put it simply, this is one of the best kung fu follow-ups I have ever seen. Knowing that the one-armed character is by this time firmly established (and a box office success), director Chang Cheh opts for full-blown action this time around. It is basically The Road Warrior (1981) to the first film's Mad Max (1979), pumping up the action quotient ten fold and rarely slowing down from beginning to end.
Sword fights come at you every five minutes or so, resulting in some amazingly bloody action. I had no idea that any kung fu film from the 60s was so bloody. This effect is remarkably enhanced by the use of palm squibs to send bloody flying and the heroes all white outfits. Another exciting aspect of the film (which would later become a Wang Yu staple) is the use of unorthodox weapons by the heavies. With eight super villains there is a lot of room for some creativity and Cheh and co. don't fail. My personal favorite is the sinister female demon that pulls any numbers of knives from under her flowing robe.
But it is not to say that the film abandons the dramatic aspects of the story. Cheh spends a decent amount of time focusing on Fang Gang's reflection of his violent ways, both past and present. Fang essentially wants to be left alone with his wife but, to employ an overused quote, every time he thinks he is out, they pull him back in. He is a complex character and it is good to his emotional complications played out on screen, especially after the final battle during a celebration. The relationship between Fang and his wife is also highlighted, with both Wang Yu and Chiao Chiao performing well.