Sunday, November 05, 2006

some SB movies

Deadly Duo (1971) and Magnificent Wanderers (1977) both by Chang Cheh and starring David Chiang, but Magnificent Wanderers is not very good (the characters are too "clownish" and stereotyped, especially the "bad" ones, the humour isn't great and the film isn't great acted and rather badly edited).

Deadly Duo doesn't run for long (about 70 minutes) but goes straight to the action, in fact it seems to show fights after fights (mainly with swords, axes, or a few other weapons). The plot is simple : set at the end of the Sung dynasty, "this picture shows how prince Kang was saved by many patriots and the selflessness of these valiant men"!
Hero Bao (Ti Lung) and three of his courageous men will have to cross a bridge that only an expert can do, and who is, of course, Little Bat (David Chiang). As usual, Chang Cheh gives portraits of heroes carried by the great values of virile friendship (one can notice that there is no a single female character at all in this film) and by the sense of sacrifice, strong will and invulnerable bravery which Chang Cheh expresses entirely at the the final scene in a very visual way.

2 other SB films not directed by Chang Cheh:
Swordsman At Large (Chui Chang Wang, 1971) and The Fastest Sword (Pan Lei, 1968). Two different ones.
The Fastest Sword offers a simple plot about the best and fastest swordsman, also called the Sourthern Swordsman, who, victim of his title, is constantly challenging by other swordsmen. Proud and arrogant, he meets an old monk who defeats him within a blow. The old monk then teaches him humility and the futility of glory and importance for 3 years by making certain long tasks alone (copying old scripts, making a very small statue out of a massive rock). But when he goes back to the world, not only relatives of swordsmen he killed in his previous life come back to him but he's also challenged by another famous swordsman, the Northern Swordsman.
The Fastest Sword is to me closer to a chambara kind, not much action and a long final duel (that lasts about 10 minutes with slow motion shots and close-ups), the complicity of the village and even the main character, Ding Menghao (Lu Ping who acts very well), almost walks and acts like a Japanese swordsman.

Swordsman at Large involves many characters - female and male, often in couples such as Flying Eagle and Zhao Tai Chi, the Lian cousins, Xiao the rambler and Xi Niang. The plot presents several conspiricies and ways to get the prestigious Deer Knife in order to rule the martial world as well as a romance story (that could have been shorterned).

a couple of other SB movies mentioned here.

A top 10 of Martial Arts HK films (posted on the Kung Fu corner thread on RT) :

Top 10 Before the 80s
1. Raining in the Mountain (King Hu, 1979)
2. The New One Armed Swordsman (Chang Cheh, 1971)
3. Have a Sword, Will Travel (Chang Cheh, 1969)
4. The Assassin (Chang Cheh, 1967)
5. Cold Blade (Chu Yuan , 1970)
6. Touch of Zen (King Hu, 1969)
7. That Fiery Girl (Yan Jun, 1968)
8. Temple of Red Lotus (Chui Chang-wang, 1965)
9. The Wandering Swordsman (Chang Cheh, 1970)
10. Come Drink with Me (King Hu, 1968)

Top 10 After the 80s
1. Once Upon a Time in China (1&2) (Tsui Hark, 1992,1993)
2. The Blade (Tsui Hark, 1995)
3. New Dragon Inn (Raymond Lee, 1992)
4. Iron Monkey (Yuen Woo-ping, 1993)
5. Fong Sai-Yuk 1 (the 2 is okay but not as good) (Corey Yuen, 1993)
6. Tai Chi Master (Yuen Woo-ping, 1993)
7. Wing Chun (Yuen Woo-ping, 1994)
8. Dreadnaught (Yuen Woo-ping, 1981)
9. Blade Of Fury (Sammo Hung, 1993)
10. Swordsman 2 (Ching Siu-Tung, 1991)

Perhaps not in specific orders and it could easily change. Also films like Bride with White Hair and A Chinese Ghost Story, which are more wu xia fantasy, are very good films.



Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

Jeez, that RT thread brought back some memories...

Not a fan of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin? The last two HK Martial Arts films I saw (months ago already) were The Invincible Pole Fighter and Zu: Warriors From the Magic Mountain. I'll check my video store if they have any from your lists.

November 06, 2006 12:23 pm  
Blogger Ouyang Feng said...

hahaha, yes, it does!I mainly post on the Asian Film thread and this one, actually those are the only ones I check and post...

I am not a martial arts film addict but I enjoy watching them.
I prefer more swordsplay movies than pure kung fu, and more 60/70s than the 80s. But films like he 36th Chamber of Shaolin and The Invincible Pole Fighter (or Eight Diagram Pole Fighter) are classic of the genre.
I liked Eight Diagram Pole Fighter but not Zu: Warriors From the Magic Mountain. More fantasy swordsplay films and not hard to be found would be more Chinese Ghost Story or Bride with White Hair.
I'd recommend also Once Upon a Time in China, 1&2 (the 3rd isn't as good, and I haven't seen the rest apart the last one) because they also have a strong historical backround and the choregraphy is impressive.

November 07, 2006 12:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the 1995 SB film by Tsui Hark's The Blade, could someone tell me the name of that big monk? The monk's fight with the bandits is the film's first action sequence. They seem to be short on credits for all the actors at the end of the DVD. Thanks.
m808a (at) yahoo (dot) com

November 12, 2006 7:18 am  
Blogger Ouyang Feng said...

I can't tell you but if I find out, I will.

November 13, 2006 12:31 am  

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