Wen Suchen (1966)

User Rating:
5.9/10 15 votes
Director:Chun Hsieh
Writer:Cheh Chang (writer)
Release Date: 18 May 1966 (Hong Kong) more
Genre:Action | Adventure more
Also Known As:Knight of Knights (Hong Kong: English title)
Man siu jun (Hong Kong: Cantonese title)

Directed by Hsieh Chun, from a script by Chang Cheh, this classic example of "martial chivalry" films marks one of screenwriter Chang's first forays into the genre, and occupies a significant place in the development of the modern kung fu movie. Young heartthrob Chiao Chuang plays the title character, a swordsman who avenges the murders of six comrades in battle against the notorious monks of the Chao Ching Monastery.

Five out of seven knights are killed in a battle against the notorious monks of Chao Ching Monastery. The mortally wounded sixth knight, Li Kwai, only lives long enough to tell Wen Su-chen, leader of the group, what has happened.
Disguised as a scholar and accompanied by two pageboys, Wen Lung and Wen Hu, Wen arrives at the monastery asking for accommodations. After undergoing exhaustive questioning by Abbot Ming Kung, he is accepted.
Wen Su-chen discovers a secret passage at night, which leads to a dungeon where he finds one of the “Five Tigers of Chao Ching,” thrashing carpenter Yu Ta, molesting his wife and younger sister. Wen Su-chen kills the bully and sets the victims free. Ho then rushes over to the office of Roving Inspector Lin Ti-an who is nearly assassinated. Having been rescued in time, the Inspector begs Wen Su-chen to search for the list containing the names of the Chao Ching Gang.
In the Imperial Court, two officials, Ching Wang and Pei Chien, have been plotting to usurp the throne. The Emperor sends Inspector Lin out to investigate. The plotters have secretly ordered Magistrate Wang of Chien Tang County to recruit, through bribes, the services of Ming Kung and the “Five Tigers” to assassinate the Inspector. A “Tide Watching Pavilion” is built as a decoy, and the gang invites the Inspector there to “watch the tide”.
Ming Kung, who suspects Wen Su-chen of killing his henchman in the dungeon, invites him to the “tide watching” party. Inspector Lin manages to go up the pavilion with Wen Su-chen at his side. Before he has a chance to leave, Ming Kung releases a carrier pigeon as a signal for action. Wu Hsing, acting on orders, cuts the ropes supporting the pavilion. As the structure sways, ringleader Tao Hsiung and his men plunge into the river to join the violent battle in the water.
Tao Hsiung captures Hung Yu, Inspector Lin’s daughter, and takes her to an abandoned temple, where Wen Su-chen rescues her. Su-chen hangs the ringleader in an old well and forces him to surrender the gang’s register. In the meantime, he manages to revive the fainted Hung Yu. Both soaked to the skin, they have to undress and dry their clothes over a fire. The two, alone in a desolate temple and in distress, fall in love but keep their passions in check.
Pageboy Wen Lung saves the life of Hsin Yen, Hung Yu’s maid, but is killed in an ambush while taking her to the temple. Hsin Yen is later tied to one of the temple’s secret contraptions.
Inspector Lin is rescued by the other pageboy, Wen Hu and taken back to his office. Lin issues an order for the arrest of Magistrate Wang and sends men out to search the Chao Ching Monastery. Wen Hu is out searching for Hung Yu and Wen Su-chen.
Wen Su-chen turns Hung Yu over to Inspector Lin’s men, and rushes back to the monastery where a battle is raging between Lin’s men and the gangsters. As Ming Kung is losing, he suddenly sets the contraptions in motion. When Wen Su-chen breaks into the Scripture Hall looking for Hsin Yen, he gets trapped. Hsin Yen saves Wen Su-chen by holding on to the contraption to avoid the explosion of an incendiary bomb. But she is killed by the blast.
Wen Su-chen discovers the list of the gang members. As he fights his way out, he is almost killed by an iron hook thrown at him. The notorious monk, Ming Kung hurls another bomb at Wen Su-chen who manages to get away from the explosion. The bomb kills Ming Kung.
Having vanquished his foes, Wen Su-chen returns to Inspector Lin with the list. His mission is complete.


Huo shao hong lian si zhi jiang hu qi xia (1965)

User Rating:
6.3/10 40 votes
Director:Teng Hung Hsu
Writer:Chiang Shen (screenplay)
Genre:Action | Drama
Also Known As:Jiang hu qi xia (Hong Kong: Mandarin title) (original subtitled version)
Temple of the Red Lotus (Hong Kong: English title)

The classic Shaw Brothers martial arts film Temple of the Red Lotus introduced audiences to Jimmy Wang Yu, a skinny young kid who would one day become the star of the One-Armed Swordsman and Chinese Boxer films! Wu (Jimmy Wang Yu) journeys to meet his bride-to-be Lian Chu (Chin Ping), but his future in-laws are constantly under attack by the vicious Red Lotus Sect. What Wu doesn't realize is that his future family belongs to a gang of ruthless bandits warring with the Red Lotus Sect, and there is a price for knowing their identity. Wu wants out, and wishes to take Lian Chu with him, but to get out he has to defeat each member of the family one by one! And even if he gets out, what of the Red Lotus Sect? And who is the mysterious Red Lady Sword (Ivy Ling Po)? An exciting martial arts action film with surprising touches of emotion, Temple of the Red Lotus started a Shaw Brothers franchise that would go on to include the films The Twin Swords and The Sword and the Lute.

En route to the Kan Castle, Kwei Wu tries to prevent a gang of masked bandits from waylaying a convoy carrying silver bars, but is knocked unconscious. Regaining his senses, Kwei Wu finds he was rescued by a girl named Scarlet Maid. He tells her his parents were killed by bandits and he has taken up boxing and fencing lessons to avenge them; he is on his way to marry his childhood sweetheart and search for his lost aunt.
With information from the Scarlet Maid, Kwei Wu reaches Kan Castle and is married to Lien Chu. However, he is started to find that his father-in-law Kan Lung is the ringleader of the masked bandits. He persuades Lien Chu to run away with him and they fight their way to safety.
On their way, they find that the monks and nuns of the White Lotus Temple are kidnapping innocent girls to satisfy the lust of the Red Lotus Temple gang. They try to rescue the girls and learn from the captives that Kan Lung is actually a righteous man who took part in the robbery to help a certain convoy agent. They regret their escape. After fleeing from an ambush, they decide to return to Kan Castle.
Approaching Red Lotus Temple, they spot the bandits with their girl prisoners. A further check reveals that the real monks and nuns are driven out of the temple which is taken over by the disguised bandits. They are outwitted by the bandits and Lien Chu is taken prisoner. Kwei Wu rushes back to Kan Castle for help.
Meanwhile, Kan Lung is angry at Kwei Wu’s gateway. A member of his castle attempts to attack the Red Lotus Temple. Worried over his safety, Kan Lung takes his whole family on a rescue mission. On their way, they find a repentant Kwei Wu, who requests the rescue of Lien Chu. Kwei Wu is kept in custody in the castle as punishment until the return of the rescue party.
When Kan Lung and his party arrive at Red Lotus Temple, they realize this is another trap. Having sustained heavy casualties, they finally manage to break into the place where Lien Chu is held prisoner. Before they can do anything to save the girl, the whole party is locked up by a contraption controlled from the outside. The bandit chief seals the steel cabin and feeds poisonous gas into it.
Kwei Wu, after gaining the sympathy of the grand aunt, rushes to the spot just in time to save the rescue party. But Lien Chu is missing. A corpse is found whom they mistake for Lien Chu. They later learn that Lien Chu had been saved by the Scarlet Maid.
Having nursed Lien Chu back to health, Scarlet Maid escorts her to her home at Kan Castle where the ground is strewn with dead bodies, and the grand aunt is the only survivor. Scarlet Maid, realizing the massacre is the work of the Red Lotus bandits, returns to the Temple to deal with the thugs.
At the Temple, Kan Lung and others are still trying to fight their way out. The timely arrival of Scarlet Maid rescues all. She points out that the bandit chief is actually the murderer of Kwei Wu’s parents, and she herself is Kwei Wu’s aunt. To ensure that the Red Lotus bandits are completely destroyed, they set fire to the Temple before returning to the Kan Castle.


Huo shao hong lian si zhi yuan yang jian xia (1965)


User Rating:
6.7/10 17 votes
Director:Teng Hung Hsu
Writer:Chiang Shen (writer)
Release Date: 22 December 1965 (Hong Kong) more
Genre:Adventure | Drama
Also Known As:The Twin Swords (Hong Kong: English title)
Yin yang jian xia (Hong Kong: Mandarin title) (original subtitled version)

TWIN SWORDS (1965) is an elaborate studio production that boasts great color, beautiful sets & costumes, and a non-stop music/narrative song soundtrack. This was the Shaw Bros. studio style of the early 1960s before things got darker and more intense with ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN (1967), which also starred Jimmy Wang Yu and propelled him into martial arts stardom. TWIN SWORDS starts right in the middle of the action--a sword fight in which Lien Chu (Ching Ping) and Kwei Wu (Jimmy Wang Yu) fight off hordes of bandits led by familiar actors from early Shaw Bros. films. The film is a sequel to TEMPLE OF THE RED LOTUS (also 1965) and was followed by another sequel, THE SWORD AND THE LUTE (1966).

The basic plot line finds the two young leads in the process of eloping when they are interrupted by cries for help from four young women being kidnapped. They try to rescue the women from the Red Lotus Temple, which is installed with elaborate traps by bandits disguised as monks. Lien gets trapped and Wang Yu escapes to go plead with Lien's family, the Kans, for help. In this highly melodramatic section of the film, the family is scornful and doesn't trust him. Lien's former suitor, played by Lo Lieh, volunteers to go investigate and makes an ill-fated rescue attempt, prompting the Kans to finally step in.

It's Grandma who calls the shots here and the entire family goes, including Lien's mother and aunts, all beautifully dressed. Dad (Tien Feng) gives the family heirloom, an iron-chopping sword, to his youngest daughter, Little Ling, who later uses the sword, to lethal effect, on a hapless guard. Most of the family members have perfect aim and the ability to leap up walls and balconies, often in unison! To make a long story short, they all go to the Red Lotus Temple and put up a series of fights. An older swordswoman, Scarlet Maid (Ivy Ling Po, one of the top female Shaw Bros. stars of the time), joins in to help them out.

The film is notable for its rich, lavish, brightly-colored studio look, a characteristic of the Shaw Bros. studio costume films of the time (1960s). Several scenes have background choral songs that provide a narrative accompaniment. The film was directed by Sui Jang Hung, although Chang Cheh, later the studio's top kung fu director, is credited with Production Design. The fight scenes feature lots of acrobatics and high leaping (or 'vaulting'). The heroes win fights quite easily. Wang Yu fights, but doesn't employ the brutal moves, both swordplay and kung fu, that he'd develop in his later films, relying here on more of a slashing sword style that represents a transitional moment in the studio's methods of fight choreography. He overacts well, however, pleading and crying very convincingly. I can see why he wanted to play tougher guys in his later films.

In the Tai Seng VHS edition, in Mandarin with English subtitles, the subtitles sometimes dip off the screen during the first hour. The full-frame transfer cuts off the subtitles on the sides anyway, making only the middle of each line visible. But until a letter-boxed DVD becomes available, this is the only way to see a film which remains one of the best early examples of Hong Kong's 'wuxia pian' genre, the type of stylized swordplay film that director Ang Lee sought to recall, in his own fashion, with CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000).

ADDENDUM: (9/25/07) Six years after I wrote the above review, a remastered letter-boxed DVD edition of TWIN SWORDS has indeed finally come out, courtesy of Celestial Pictures' line of restored Shaw Bros. classics. I'd picked up the sequel, THE SWORD AND THE LUTE, a year ago, but waited till after I'd gotten the new edition of TWIN SWORDS and watched it again before watching the sequel, which I've now also reviewed for IMDb and which is found only under its Chinese title, HUO SHAO HONG LIAN SI ZHI QIN JIAN EN CHOU. So now all three films in the trilogy, which began with TEMPLE OF THE RED LOTUS, are available on Region 3 DVD from Celestial. The DVD of TWIN SWORDS contains its original four-minute trailer, which asserts that it's based on a "famous Chinese classic," although I have yet to determine the literary source.



Ai nu (1972)

导演: 楚原 (Yuen Chor)
编剧: 邱刚健 (Kang Chien Chiu)
主演: 何莉莉 / 岳华 / 贝蒂
制片国家/地区: 香港
上映日期: 1972-07-09 >更多
又名: Ai nu / Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan
imdb链接: tt0068744


Can que (1978)

导演: 张彻
编剧: 倪匡
主演: 陳觀泰 / 鹿峰 / 郭追 / 羅莽 / 孫建 / 潘冰嫦
制片国家/地区: 香港
语言: 汉语
上映日期: 1978-12-21 >更多
又名: Crippled Avengers
imdb链接: tt0077292