It starts with two guys raid a large house at night. They destroy what seems to be a government printing operation and all the people there. Cut to acrobats perform on the street and are bullied by the usual gang of extortionists. A fight is about to start when the general's daughter shoots one of them in the back dead. Everyone in the scene is impressed only by the fact that she is the general's daughter and they ignore the dead guy.
Martial arts movies need to take place in an alternate universe where guns do not exist.
Cut to the dojo. Yes, dojo, that is karate they are practicing. Lily and her teacher are looking for someone. Lily has a flashback in which she is a child and sees a murder.
I have simplified the summary of the action up to now because the scenes actually do not fit together to form a coherent story. After watching some more and rewatching some parts I figured out that Lily is there to kill Sun Yueh for revenge for killing someone in her childhood. Maybe. Let's just say if there is a plot it is paper thin.
I have enjoyed martial arts movies with thin plots. This is not one of them.
Great action is needed to make up for other movie deficiencies. The action in this movie is the greatest deficiency. An action sequence most often fails because of the action itself. Sometimes a fair action sequence can be spoiled by the camera. In this movie the action is bad enough on it's on account but made even worse by the sloppy camera work.
When I come across a movie like this, when I know just twenty minutes in I have a warm turd in front of me, I hang in for one final hope. Pretty much any movie can have a special moment. This is when everything just comes together and you see something you have never seen before, or something just clicks on the screen and it gives you something to think about for the rest of the day. If you read some of my other reviews you will come across specific times this has happened for me. This is not one of those times.
My copy is a DVD and I have no memory of acquiring it. It plays on my HDTV as widescreen but the sides are chopped. The hard subtitles are Chinese over English and they are chopped at the sides also. This is a Shaw Brothers movie so that explains why I bought it. However, Shaw Brothers movies are known to fans of this genre as high quality. If not for the opening title screen and Shaw's theme music no fan would ever suspect this was a Shaw production. Because of this movie I now have a list that should not be needed - list of worst Shaw Brothers movies. This is number one on the list.