2 March 2007 | ChungMo
"Five Superfighters" - classic kung fu
In the world of kung-fu films there were the top budgeted ones (usually from the Shaw studios) with big sets and well rehearsed stars who looked good, could act and do some remarkable fight scenes. Then there were the films from the smaller studios that might have some good martial artists/actors (who sometimes lacked movie star looks) but didn't have the sets and ended up doing a lot of fight scenes in a field somewhere. And the fights were not so well rehearsed. These films sometimes made up for their short comings by having really exaggerated characters and lots of action. Well low and behold, here's one from the Shaw studios! Directed by third tier director Lo Mar and cast with minor actors from the Shaw stable.
A strange black garbed kung fu master wanders around beating up kung fu teachers, "correcting" their bad kung fu. He beats up a master and his three students who he adopted as orphans. The students go their separate ways to find a kung fu teacher who can teach them a style that will defeat the crazy master. Their master hides in an abandoned temple drinking.
That's the plot. The rest of the movie is fight scenes and training scenes. Since that seems to be the bulk of the film that's what I'll comment on. This is another film featuring Tony Leung Siu Hung, here as the beaten master. It's interesting to see him on camera before he became one of the biggest fight choreographers of the past ten years. The fights in this film start out weak but get much better as the film progresses. The choreography is unusual at times but that doesn't mean it always works. Unfortunately, Lo Mar is at the director's helm and that means that the camera angles are not very good. The three students don't come off with any individual personality.
However this is a great example of a classic kung fu film since it has all of the elements of the cheap budgeted film. Fighting in a field, overacted characters, mistimed fight scenes and lots of young men dressed as old men. There's something about this sort of film that is just appealing.