13 June 2011 | MartinHafer
A very familiar story, but it's done so right!
Some tough folks arrive. And, for no reason other than the pleasure of being evil, they wipe out a family. However, they don't realize that one of them survived. This survivor soon after witnesses an amazing old man with a white beard and long hair wipe out a group of thugs--and he begs to be trained by the man. After training for years, vengeance is meted out to each of the three villainous murderers as well as their MANY henchmen. And through amazing sword skills and determination, the folks are defeated. Souds familiar? Well, this is, pretty much, the plot to "Kill Bill"--as well as quite a few of the Hong Kong martial arts films. In fact, it is "The Bells of Death"--made decades before most of these other films. But, despite the familiarity of the plot, it's a must-see for lovers of the genre because the fighting and choreography is so good--among the very best I've seen. There are also, thankfully, few 'wire foo' stunts--only at the end do you see a guy magically jump up to amazing heights--AND he fails!! I loved this touch as well as the nice pacing throughout. Clearly this is among the very best. No blows that don't even come close to landing, no silly characters and no silly story--just a well-made story of revenge...period.
In addition, the DVD print is GREAT--nearly pristine. And, fortunately, it is in Chinese with nice English subtitles--none of that crappy dubbing!! For lovers of the genre, it doesn't get much more exciting!