Blog Archives

Exploitations from the Far East (DVD box set) (1975)

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As they did with their Wuxia box set, Siren Visual have put together a set of five films from the Shaw Brothers with similar themes, packaging them up in rather a nice-looking box set with new artwork and menus on all the discs. This one’s rather less high-minded than the tales of chivalry and heroism in the last one, though — it’s a box of Shaws’ less salubrious fare from the late 70s and early 80s, when they moved … (read more)

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The Wuxia Stories: Heroes of Ancient China (DVD box set) (1970)

Now that Siren have a large catalogue of releases from the celebrated Shaw Brothers studio in Hong Kong, they’ve started boxing them up into box sets, all the better to tempt you with. Wuxia Stories is the first one, showcasing five films from Shaws’ prolific swordplay director Chu Yuen and one from Cheng Kang, father of action director Ching Siu Tung.

For those readers who aren’t aware of it, wuxia refers to a particular genre of Chinese film and literature, … (read more)

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Shaolin Prince (1982)

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Most fans of Shaw Brothers’ martial-arts and swordplay films know the names of director Chang Cheh and action director Lau Kar-leung, also a fine director in his own right. The Shaws studio had several other top action directors, though, chief among them Tong Gaai, who worked in partnership with Lau sifu on many of Chang Cheh’s films. While Lau is most associated with empty-handed martial arts, Tong Gaai was a weapons specialist, responsible for many of the Shaws films featuring … (read more)

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An Amorous Woman of Tang Dynasty (1984)

An Amorous Woman of Tang Dynasty is another in the Shaw Brothers’ studio’s proud tradition of period-setting erotic dramas with dodgy English titles, following on from 1972’s Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan. Like the latter, though, it really is just a bit more complicated than you’d think: this movie has a number of attributes that set it apart from the rest of the pack.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It is what it says it is on the … (read more)

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Duel Of Fists (1971)

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Popular Shaw Brothers babes Ti Lung and David Chiang star in yet another Chang Cheh film about fraternal love, Duel of Fists. This came runner up to The Big Boss in the 1971 Hong Kong box office, but it’s much better.

Chang Cheh keeps things very simple in terms of plot, leaving as much room as possible for the action—on his fathers dying wish, Fan Ko (David Chiang) goes to Thailand to find his brother Wen Leih (Ti Lung), … (read more)

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Martial Club (1981)

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Martial Club, shot in 1981, is one of action director par-excellence Lau Kar-leung’s later films for Shaw Brothers. It stars Gordon Liu as Chinese historical figure Wong Fei-hung, who’s been brought to the screen many times by many different actors. Notable in this list are Kwan Tak-Hing in some 100-odd Wong Fei-hung films, Jet Li in Once Upon a Time in China and Jackie Chan in Drunken Master I and II. Gordon Liu played him in Challenge of (read more)

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The Web Of Death (1976)

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The Web Of Death is another entry into the swordplay fantasy genre from a specialist in this style of film, Chor Yuen (The Magic Blade, Clans of Intrigue and many others). It’s also effectively a remake of (or taken from the same source as) 1967’s The Thundering Sword, starring Cheng Pei-pei and Chang Yi.

However, unlike The Thundering Sword, which is an older-style martial chivalry film, The Web Of Death pulls out all the stops in … (read more)

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The Mighty Peking Man (1975)

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Well, well. My first real Shaw Brothers exploitation film. You can see the executives meeting to greenlight it: “Right, guys, let’s make a King Kong movie, but use the Connaught Centre, not the Empire State building. Using scale models and a guy in a big suit, like Godzilla. And some location shooting in India, with tigers and elephants. And a blonde wearing a square foot of animal skins, who swings through the trees on lianas. That’ll really sell tickets.”… (read more)

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