27 July 1999 | Kung Lao
This movie was released in the US in the mid-seventies as Seven Blows of the Dragon as there are seven bandit warriors, though barbaric, are considered the heroes. They have names like Young Dragon (David Chiang (the only cast member I recognize), Tigress, Red Devil, etc. There are also a few "old-master" types who provide much of the drama and action.
Seven Blows of the Dragon was one of the biggest budgeted Hong Kong films of the time, and the story is a true epic scale presentation. Unlike most movies of the time inspired by Bruce Lee films, where the lone hero usually battles against bad guys with a revenge style motive, Seven Blows of the Dragon involves the old masters, the mountain outlaw band, and marauding kung fu armies, and the clash in the end features all three parties going at it, until only the old masters make for a satisfying conclusion.
The version of Seven Blows I saw was a pan and scanned cable TV print which had horrible video transfer quality. Perhaps someday the film will get an international release in its widescreen glory. The dubbing is not bad for a movie of this type. The voices are a little cartoonish, but somehow it adds to the larger than life characters portrayed in the film.
Seven Blows of the Dragon is a classic of the genre. The martial arts action is non-stop, and the film captures the flavor of ancient China. I don't believe it's currently available on video, but check your old mom'n pop videostore for a copy from the eighties. Or keep your eyes peeled on late night TV. I saw it on TNT a couple years back at 3 in the morning.