26 April 2015 | Wizard-8
Flawed, but does earn a (marginal) recommendation
When it comes to Hong Kong action films, my tastes usually go to those movies made in the 1980s or later. But several months ago I got in my hands a DVD box set of 1970s Angela Mao kung fu films, and I've found some of them to be decent, "Broken Oath" being one of them. The movie has several things that make it rise above the typical 1970s Hong Kong kung fu film. The first and most obvious is Angela Mao herself - she's in good form here, showing her trademark spunk and getting a showcase of her fighting talents, including some scenes involving weapons. Also, the movie looks pretty good - it's obvious this movie had a higher than usual budget, resulting in good sets and costumes, as well as good photography and widescreen compositions.
However, the movie has a few significant problems. There are some lengthy segments where things slow down considerably, notably the beginning - it takes a while for Angela to hit the road to revenge. Also, the ending is kind of abrupt. The biggest problem, however, is with the fight sequences. The last half hour or so does have some decent fights, but the hour before the movie really skips on the action. In that first hour or so, believe it or not there's not one fight that lasts more than thirty or so seconds. I stuck with the movie being in a somewhat patient mood at the time, but I think some impatient viewers will bail on the movie in its first half for not delivering the goods early on.
"Broken Oath" is not prime kung fu viewing, but if you're patient, the movie does eventually deliver enough entertainment to make it worth watching. And it's certainly better than a lot of other 1970s Hong Kong kung fu films.