5 February 2008 | winner55
One of better early Sammo films
This is clearly Sammo Hung's tribute to the Shaw Bros. style, which set the standard for Hong Kong film-making for two decades; practically all the great Hong Kong action directors worked for Shaw Bros. at one time, or paid tribute to it in one way or another, up until about 1993. The earmarks of the style developed at Shaw studios include heavy use of elaborate sound-stage exteriors; very steady camera-work with occasional hand-held close-ups for effect, a particularly atmospheric lighting that nonetheless emphasized primary colors. A particular aspect of Shaw narrative style is that the villain would usually be either of aristocratic stock or would have certain aristocratic qualities that would make him admirable if he weren't so greedy or power hungry. The Shaw heroes were always remarkably virtuous, and usually had a side-kick as noble, and sometimes as skilled. The typical Shaw film involved an elder, sometimes of aristocratic background, sometimes simply aristocratic in quality, and usually well-known as a martial-arts master; unfortunately this elder is always doomed to be the villain's chief victim, thus setting the heroes out on their quest for revenge.
All these elements are here - every last one - and accomplished with a high quality professional finesse. with this film, Hung demonstrated his command of the medium as Hong Kong film audiences understood it according to the highest standards held for it at the time. And, of course, it must be admitted that the film is rip-roaring fun for any real fan of the martial-arts genre.
Not necessarily a classic, but certainly looks as good as one!