18 February 2020 | ckormos1
The political power of the lie
My copy is the Bonzai Media DVD. The audio is scratchy most of the time. It plays with English dubbing most of the time but often reverts to subtitles with Chinese dialog. The settings give no control over this. The video is wide screen and though not Blu-ray is still excellent.
It starts with a boring scene with the empress getting dressed, a process requiring dozens of servants. She then eats from a table set to feed a small army. I was originally concerned with the run time of my copy. I am aware of a 137 minute version and mine is about 120 minutes. There are even far shorter versions. The 17 minute difference seems to be even more of the empress and also conversations but none of it is martial arts or action. The action starts with Beardie and Alex Fu Sheng working out. Overall the movie is padded with scenes of Alex doing full martial arts katas and Chinese opera scenes. Since this is action or martial arts I have no complaint.
At the town square a foreigner pulls out a gun. Chinese boxers claim they can defeat the foreign devils and are invulnerable to their guns. Johnny Wang Yu is feeding everyone this bull to advance himself. He claims victory over the Japanese when in reality they were slaughtered but not annihilated. This shows the political power of the lie. Yes, what he says is a lie, people know it, yet armies march to the lie.
At about the 45 minute mark there is a fight sequence including Alex Fu Sheng. This sequence is fight choreography genius. He fights against Japanese soldiers and his technique humiliates and mocks them. This is precisely the stuff that takes a movie to the next level for me.
This movie is above average and mandatory viewing for fans of martial arts movies of the golden age from 1967 to 1984.