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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Broken Oath showcases the charm, the beauty and the total arse-whuppin ability of Angela Mao. Moreover, this is kung fu cinema in its purest form. If vengeance is the central theme of Chinese martial arts films you don't get much better than Broken Oath.

    Angela Mao plays Lotus Liu. Her father is killed by an infamous quartet of assassins. They spare her pregnant mother, who is sent to a prison island. While in prison she gives birth to Lotus.

    One of the women inmates helping to deliver the child says, "It's a girl!" The mother simply states, "It doesn't matter. Boy or girl, this child will have vengeance. My daughter is born into hate."

    A well-meaning inmate delivers the child to a Buddhist temple. She explains Lotus' background and asks the Sister Superior to raise the child as a peaceful citizen. The Sister Superior agrees and they dutifully raise Lotus and train her in the peaceful ways of Buddha.

    It doesn't work. Even though she doesn't understand how or why, Lotus is driven by a hate-filled desire for violence. Sparring sessions with the other nuns are hardly fair as Lotus pummels them mercilessly. Classes on love and Buddha's commandments annoy her so she skips them to sneak into the nearby woods for further practice.

    One day in the woods three ruffians happen upon her. One announces that they like to kill but are "tender" with girls. He further assures Lotus that they'll take turns with her. Lotus kills them. It's not a fight, the ruffians are hopelessly outmatched. Lotus is never in any real danger but she not only kills them, she takes a slow delight with the death of the third.

    The nuns have no choice but to throw her out of the temple. Before expelling her, the Sister Superior tells Lotus where she may find the woman who delivered her to the temple. Lotus does so and discovers her past. Now she understands why she is fueled by violence and is happy that she has a target at which to aim her furious skill.

    Though there has already been killing, it just gets better from this point. Lotus begins seeking the four assassins one by one. Taking on the masters singly or their gangs by the dozen she cuts a swathe of bloody destruction.

    Angela Mao has ranked as my third favorite actress for most of my adult life (behind Audrey Hepburn and Judy Holliday). I love the kung fu genre in general and consider Mao to be in the elite echelon of performers. Mao not only possesses a fierce beauty (watch her expressions) but a physical skill equaled by very few other female martial arts actresses.

    Her timing is superb which enabled the directors to place her in complex choreographed fights and her physical range is astounding. Clearly short of stature, even by the Chinese standards of the time, Mao can deliver kicks that come out of nowhere. And when she launches into a series of kicks, it's a thing of beauty.

    My favorite movie of hers remains Sting of the Dragon Masters but Broken Oath is the best showcase for her skill, both in quantity and range. If you enjoy kung fu cinema, watch this! If you enjoy Angela Mao, watch this!
  • This is what I'm talking about!! From the get go, the film is dark, grim, and the common HK 'revenge' theme, BUT this is how you take revenge!

    Angela is great in this one; fighting to the point where she won't rest until the enemy's blood is spilt. It's great: no phony sparring or sparing the enemy. Guys are practically slammed by Angela's hard kicks (love those sound effects!) and her movements flow so smoothly that it just adds so much more to the fights. Her facial expressions are best when fierce and enraged. Even Sammo gets bruised and abused. She's too dangerous for Shaolin temple while her foes cower in fear. Broken Oath is a fine work from kung fu's Deadly China Doll.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a real classy film, kung fu or otherwise. Director Jeong Chang Hwa (who also made King Boxer) knew how to frame a shot and with action directors Hsu Hsia and Yuen Woo Ping lead actress Angela Mao is really able to show her abilities. It has nice touches like her use of Scorpions and it is one of those films where the fights just get better and better with few obvious tricks but lots of very good moves. Angela plays her deadly revenge using both her very real beauty and deadly fighting skills. The plot has a few twists and turns to keep you interested and the supporting actors really play their parts well without detracting from Angela's lead role. A film you can watch many times and still see something new. A great film by a great actress and kung fu fighter.
  • This is a high quality classic that may be said as Golden Harvest's "Five Deadly Venoms", and in this movie character Angela Mao portrays actually uses venom from the scorpion to do away with her enemies.

    Angela Mao plays the role of an orphan who was brought up in Shaolin temple. As she matured, she became skilled in kung fu, but also not fit in terms of behavior to stay at the temple. She makes her life as a pick pocket in the streets, but she's also after the four men who killed her father, and sent her mother to jail.

    The usual high quality visuals, and intricate story development of Golden Harvest's movie is evident here. Along with "The Tournament" this movie features the best of Angela Mao's kung fu skills. After seeing this movie, it's evident that she is something very special in terms of star quality, and the martial arts, and acrobatic skills. There is no one I can think of that has these qualities to the degree she has even to this day.

    The movie is definitely a kung fu movie classic, made extra special by the presence of Angela Mao.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Angry and aggressive orphan Lotus Lin (the one and only Angela Mao in top strong and charismatic form) gets raised as a Buddhist in a Shaolin temple after her mother dies in the wake of giving birth to her in prison. Consumed with rage, Lin gets expelled from the temple and vows to exact a harsh revenge on the four men who killed her father and sent her mother to prison. Director Chang-hwa Jeong, working from a compact script by Kang Shih, relates the absorbing story at a steady pace, offers a flavorsome evocation of the period setting, and stages the exciting and energetic martial arts fights with rousing panache. Naturally, the always dependable Mao displays her customary graceful, agile, and acrobatic dexterity in her fight scenes: Besides taking on a bunch of guys all at once (keep your eyes peeled for Sammo Hung as a baddie who takes quite a pounding from Angela), Mao also gets to use a nice assortment of weapons and even poisonous scorpions against her opponents. Although the plot follows a pretty predictable trajectory, it nonetheless still hits all the satisfying paces and manages to deliver a few neat twists along the way. The rich widescreen cinematography by Tieh Wing and Yung-lung Wang provides a gorgeously lush look. Frankie Chan's lively score hits the stirring spot. Recommended viewing for fans of Miss Mao.
  • 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.