Master of the "swordplay thriller" genre, Chu Yuan and renowned kung-fu choreographer Tang Chia tell the fabulous tale of the "Fastest Swordsman in the World" facing the "1000 Face Devil" and no less than seven murderers.
| "Pursuit of Vengeance" - Martial world revenge story
I remember the last days of the Chinatown cinemas here in New York City. One theater, the Music Palace, had a lock on Shaw films and you could almost always count on a double bill with at least one martial art film playing. One of the unique qualities of the theater was that patrons would talk throughout the films, get up, walk around or go and buy one of the numerous Chinese snacks available in the theater. Every now and then I would see a film where you could do this and not lose the story or really miss anything. While I have never seen Pursuit of Vengeance before, this is certainly one of those films.
Ti Lung plays a cool fighter who wields an odd tonfa/sword. He resembles the Man with No Name from the Leone westerns in a way. He enters a tavern gambling house and causes a stir by ordering goat's milk instead of wine. Some local ruffians decide to pick on him but are interrupted by a young man who brings a goat in to the tavern. The ruffians turn their attention to the young man who turns out to be a very skilled open hand fighter. The fight finished Ti Lung leaves the tavern but runs into a group of men who demand that he attend a gathering at Wan Ma clan mansion. Ti Lung refuses but the arrival of six coffins destined for the six men invited to the mansion intrigues him so he decides to go. The young man is invited as well. At the mansion they are informed that it's the 20th anniversary of the death of hero Bai and Bai's killer has returned to exterminate the Wan Ma. Among the six is the killer, or is he?
A very convoluted plot with lots of characters fighting and dying. The film's pluses are some unique scenes, the opening in the tavern is entertaining, good art direction and interesting main characters with a sense of humor. Lo Lieh joins the cast about half way thru and lends his talents. The drawbacks are some very choppy editing, creaky camera-work and some mediocre fights. Nearly every action scene has dozens of extras running back and forth, in front of the camera! That's not to say that there isn't some excellent fight choreography but choreographer Tang Chia has done better elsewhere. Lot's of unusual weapons although.