11 March 2019 | ckormos1
Plenty of good guys and nasties so pick your favorite
When Raymond Chow left Shaw Brothers to start a new studio to compete with Shaw Brothers he used Shaw as a business model and it shows in this early Golden Harvest movie. The studio system uses many actors and does not want any one actor to be too popular and then start expecting more money. Here we have eight lead roles for the good guys and both Pai Ying and Han Ying-Chieh for the nasties. It begins by introducing everyone in a tea house while an assassination attempt fails.
This was when actors were actors and not martial artists. The studio did not want any actor getting hurt and holding up production. This is evident by the fight choreography and the choice of weapons. Swords are fairly safe as sword choreography mostly involves the actor raising the sword followed by the stunt men striking it or the actor swinging the sword and the stunt men flying off in every direction. The whip is also a safe weapon. I begrudge calling it a weapon. Yes, you can hurt someone with it but in martial arts there is really no such thing as a whip fight. In this movie there were many whip fights. I also do not like when the production makes up hokey weapons such as Nora's scissors that she uses to snip the whips. But that was the state of martial arts movies then.
Overall considering the year and genre I rate this movie just a tad above average. In movies like this sometimes it is more important not to be bad. Other than my griping about weapon choices there is nothing bad here. The characters are all individuals and do not blur into a crowd of eight look-alike fighters. Pai Ying and Han Ying-Chieh always played villains I wanted to punch in the face personally. The pace is good so I was never tempted to fast forward. The final fight is also above average and leaves the audience feeling satisfied in expectations.