|The Magnificent Ruffians (1979)|
|Writers:||Ni Kuang and Chang Cheh|
|Starring:||Lu Feng, Lo meng, Chiang Sheng, Sun Chien and Philip Kwok|
|The Plot: Mr. Yuan (Lu Feng) is a businessman from a very successful family, but he desperately holds onto his family’s legendary tales of martial prowess. The Golden Sword is a sword made famous by the Yuan family before the Qing dynasty, and it is now in possession of this youngest Yuan heir apparent. With his absurd wealth, he has taken advantage of the tough times that have befallen his province. He regularly contacts any and all local martial artists that enter his province, so that he may challenge them for his own personal amusement. Being the cruel dictator that he is, he of course kills them all. The Guan family owns a Wu Wei Security Service that has unfortunately fallen upon bad times due to the changing world around them. The youngest Guan family member Ah Yun (Lo Meng), who has inherited the firm, is a stubborn young man. When Yuan decides that he wants to buy Ah Yun Guan’s security business, in order to acquire the property because of its fantastic location between two other properties that Yuan already owns, trouble begins to brew. At a local restaurant nearby, Feng Jia ji (Sun Chien) Zeng, and He Fei (Chiang Sheng) rest and relax while eating noodles. They are very poor and unable to pay for their meals, so they leave Feng Jia Ji behind in order to receive a beating by the cooks. Yang Zhua Feng (Phillip Kwok) is another down on his luck martial artist who steps up in order to save Feng Jia Ji. All martial artists refuse to take a free meal, however, and usually accept their beatings if it proves to be reasonable. When He Fei, Feng Jia Ji and Zeng all stumble upon a restaurant that refuses to beat them, they are intrigued. it seems that the restaurant is owned by Yuan, and he uses it as a tool for finding local martial artists. As the film boils to a pitch, it is only a matter of time before the Guan family and these starving martial artists meet up with Yuan in a battle of good vs. evil.|
What makes these films what they are has to be the Venom clan itself. I often speak about this in reviews for these movies, but it is hard not to acknowledge their efforts when writing at length about these movies. Each member always served their individual purposes, but they each brought something new and unique to every role that they took. Within The Magnificent Ruffians, each member has their time in the spotlight. Each member does get to show off in the areas for which they are best known, but I think that each member is also allowed to stretch out and invent a different character than what audiences might at first expect. For instance, this is yet another film where Chiang Sheng is acrobatic, Lu Feng is the Villain, Sun Chien plays a expert kicker and Phillip Kwok is the consumate “good guy,” but it is the playful differences that makes things interesting. Chiang Sheng gets to try out his comedic abilities yet again, but this time out he shows off a slightly more reserved approach that still allows him to play a very heroic individual. Sun Chien is given a larger role than what he is normally afforded, and he does a swell job at making the most of the situation. Lo Meng, who isn’t so easy to throw into a archetype, really gets to show off his charisma in the movie. A varitable loose cannon, his facial features and wild-eyed attitude is part of what makes him so special. Lu Feng is the one actor who seems to be the most typecast in his role, but even as the evil villain he manages to show off more dialogue than I am accustomed to seeing from his roles.