8 May 2006 | winner55
Sammo Hung early film!
Release date given probably off by 2-3 years, I would date this as 1976 at the latest. The producer-director's name on screen is "Hang Po Chang", which would be an alternate transliteration of a known pseudonym for Sammo Hung Kam Bo, well known Hong Kong filmmaker, martial arts performer, and adoptive brother of Jackie Chan. A young Sammo Hung appears playing the role of the Japanese commander, thus introducing considerable humor into a subject that usually gets very heavy handed in HK 'fu films of the period (Japanese oppression during the '30s). In fact Hung is clearly using the film as an experiment, to see how much comedy he can inject into such a serious topic. Certainly more successful here than in Hung's first internationally admitted directorial effort, Iron Fist Monk. Includes a brief parody of Hung's even briefer appearance in Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon. Also pay attention to a satire of the Japanese samurai films (which seemingly pops up out of nowhere), since Hung would later draw on this for his contribution to Tsui Hark's Zu: Warriors of Magic Mountain, in his early scenes with Yuen Biao. Otherwise, the film has a pretty strong narrative style to it, owing more to Hung's comic timing than to classic 'chop-sock' film plot strategies.
Polly Shaun Kuan Ling Feng does very well in an atypical role for her. A young Paul Tien Peng also shows up looking very believable as a rebel organizer. Bruce Li - the best of the Bruce Lee imitators, and believable as both actor and fight-performer - turns in his usual solid performance.
The film has a a fairly professional gloss to it, but still feels essentially like an 'old school' 'chop-sock' film.
A major rediscovery of an essential early film by one of the master innovators of the genre.