| Colorful characters and sets enliven run of the mill sword film
This film could serve as a good example of the creative stagnation that started to engulf the Shaw studios in the 1980's. Good actors, some good fight scenes, some crazy characters, and some good art direction. Unfortunately the story plays exactly as if it had been done years before.
The complex story line involves two lovers from feuding clans getting discovered. The man, the son of the clan leader, is sentenced to death but is secretly replaced by a volunteer! Even the clan leader doesn't know that this has taken place. The son is taken away but his brother, (played by Lo Meng of the 5 Deadly Venoms) who is equally ignorant of the deception, attacks the girl's clan in a rage over the affair. Ti Lung retrieves Lo Meng from the girl's clan headquarters but the two get banished from their own clan. While on the road they get involved with several shady characters who are either looking for the clan's lost gem or the clan's legendary kung fu manual. Meanwhile all the martial clans have decided to destroy Ti Lung's clan and to achieve that task they hire a master who has perfected the poison hand. You can tell he has a poison hand since his hand has claws, is covered with warts and is very green. Along the way Ti Lung meets a mysterious cave woman (wearing a leopard skin), her crazy mother and later a prince who has a harem of women. There's also a blind assassin accompanied by a mute fighting girl. Lots of plot confabulations occur.
A well mounted production but it suffers from a rambling story line and some poor editing. The action comes at a good pace but doesn't hold the film together. The fights are good but some of the best martial artists in the cast are under used. The lighting is sometimes very gaudy in that special Shaw way but the new print shows these off well.