Reviews by Country
Mad Monkey Kung Fu is another of director Lau Kar Leung’s classics from his Shaw Brothers heyday. 1979 also saw the release of his top notch hoe-down Dirty Ho, but this time we get to see him act in his own film as well. Having put mantis style to celluloid the year before with Shaolin Mantis, Lau brings another animal to the party here and it’s barrels of fun all round.
The film opens with a prologue of … (read more)
Dirty Ho‘s title may inspire sniggering from the back of the class, nowadays, but it’s a very different film than you’d think: the film does open inside a brothel (a floating one, no less!), but the Ho of the title is a male thief and kungfu practitioner (played by Wong Yue), and his dirtiness is conferred by a poisoned wound he receives early in the film. So, if you’re after something more like The Golden Lotus, I’d suggest … (read more)
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)
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)
In a departure from the wuxia/swordplay films that he’s best known for, in The Lizard director Chor Yuen brings us a period action film set in 1930s Shanghai. In a city full of wealthy foreigners and corrupt officials, a mysterious figure in black known only as The Lizard flits among the rooftops, stealing from those who don’t deserve their wealth and giving to those in need. Though a hero to the common people, the Lizard is a thorn in … (read more)
The 14 Amazons is one of those films in which Shaw Brothers pulled out all the stops: it’s got a huge cast, quite a bit of location shooting, an epic story and some huge melee battle scenes. Though many would assume from the title that it’s got either a strong feminist or exploitative slant, it’s got neither: instead, it’s a straight tale of heroism and determination that just happens to be centered around a family of women.
Their menfolk are … (read more)
This is a hard film to write a synopsis for — while every word of the one above is true, it doesn’t really do The Magic Blade justice. While directors Chang Cheh and Lau Kar-leung were making the transition from the swordplay and wuxia films with traditional actors to kung-fu films with actors trained in martial arts, Chor Yuen made a long series of films based on the novels of Ku Lung. These are proper wuxia films, but with more … (read more)