22 February 2010 | Eunus
Once upon a time in Guangdong (?)
This film is supposed to tell the story of real-life 19th century pugilists but, not surprisingly, it doesn't have the slightest concern for historical accuracy. The hairdressing is terrible, to start with. Most actors don't have their hair combed back, let alone shaved pates, and there we have lots of Bruce Lee clones wandering around and even an Elvis Presley in Lung Tien-hsiang. Another disappointment is Beggar So played by Phillip Kwok, which stands far too superficial compared to more down to earth depictions of the character. On the other hand, what gets me really going is the bad guys, Wong Lik portraying a very successful archvillain while Chan Shu-kei appears in the underrated role of a small "death on two legs". As for martial arts credits; although this film has a brilliant choreographers' portfolio, the empty hand scenes are very very average, Sun Chien being even well below it. However, the day is saved by the display of many exotic weapons (concealed, flexible, etc.) including the genuine "femme fatale" Mermaid's Tail, which you won't see much in those films. Nevertheless, I want to emphasise that the cast is magnificent, bringing a distinguished selection of Shaw Brothers martial art actors together and making this film a perfect...8!