User Reviews (3)

Add a Review

  • unbrokenmetal11 April 2009
    During the time of the Sung dynasty (roughly, around the 12th century), rebels in North China are fighting the Tartar invaders. A lady known as the Iron Mistress made a kind of Robin Hood career, from simply leading a bunch of thieves to become a local hero and a serious threat. But the Tartars attack during the night, while a celebration made the rebels careless, and the Iron Mistress and her followers are defeated and must flee. In the hour of need, the Iron Mistress remembers a man named Hsin whom she once turned down, thinking he could be of little help because he had no armed warriors. It turns out that he is a very clever man, though - and a good plan is desperately needed. Some followers of the Mistress do not trust Hsin and suspect him to be a traitor. Hsin himself suspects someone else. With little confidence in each other, they have to face the enemy again...

    Powerful swordplay drama that can't hide the fact it's 40 years old, but it has all the ingredients the genre needs. As you could see from my summary, the story is complex and interesting. Recommended to historically minded wuxia fans.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Female warrior the Iron Mistress joins forces with the crafty Hsin in order to devise a good plan for fighting off an army of Tartar invaders. Director Tsun-Shou Sung relates the tricky and absorbing story in a pleasingly snappy and straightforward manner, eschews needless pretense in favor of just getting down to rousing brass tacks, stages the plentiful spirited and exciting sword fights with considerable go-for-the-throat aplomb, and offers a convincing and flavorsome evocation of the period setting. Moreover, the film is given extra dramatic punch by the meaty themes of trust, loyalty, and betrayal. The lively cinematography injects an additional rip-snorting vitality while the dynamic and melodic score provides a nice sense of majestic sweep and scope. The use of many extras for the elaborate fight set pieces further enhances the impressive spectacle of this real cool and enjoyable item.
  • The movie starts as Iron Mistress rescues five of her gang from execution. At her headquarters she meets with a scholar. He proposes an alliance of scholars and martial artists against the Tartars. She refuses. Cut to the court making plans on how to get her. She raids a Tartar caravan and there is a problem with her gang fairly dividing the loot.

    Taiwanese martial arts movies of this time were heavy on the drama. That could be good as in "A Touch of Zen" but it could also be boring. In this movie much of the drama involves a love triangle. Yawn. Another problem with this movie is too many dark scenes where you just can't make out the action. I watched this movie twice and could not stay awake mostly for those reasons. I watched it a third time to completion so as to write a fair review.

    The fights that could be seen were mostly sword fights as standard for this era. They are not bad but not outstanding either.

    Overall I rate this as average for the year and genre with a take it or leave it recommendation for fans of martial arts movies of the golden age from 1967 to 1984.