Qi xia ba yi (1978)

  |  Action, Adventure


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10 January 2015 | Leofwine_draca
| By turns trashy and dull, and long forgotten
A period Taiwanese drama with kung-fu antics which has the distinction of being one of the rarest martial arts films out there. Watching it, the reasons why it is so rare are quite clear - it's poorly-staged, low budget tosh which focuses on political debate and dialogue over the thrills and spills that the martial arts genre usually has to offer. The plot is uninvolving and not helped by the tiny, barely readable subtitles which crossed the screen in my copy; with much of the running time being taken up by dialogue this quickly becomes a chore to sit through.

Incidental highlights involve an indestructible eagle and a man who can hang by his hair from the ceiling, but most of the kung-fu action (including a weirdo priest with dyed red hair) consists of slow-motion acrobatics and is pretty disappointing, lots of posturing but no hard-hitting action. That is, until the last half hour, when people begin dying, there's hardly any dialogue and lots of cool action begins to filter through.

Then there's the darndest ending of a kung fu film I've ever seen, in which our sole survivor battles an indestructible mime (yes, a bloody MIME!) in a deserted quarry, then a witch woman! Lots of weirdo camera trickery and bizarre slow-mo antics come in late and just about save the day of this initially rubbishy kung-fu epic, and turn it into something mildly watchable! Yes, this film is an obscurity; and perhaps deservedly so.

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