|Militant Eagle (1978)|
|Director:||Chien Chin, Hsia Hsu and Li Chia Chih|
|Writers:||Chang Hsin Yi|
|Starring:||Pai Ying, Barry Wai and Siu Gam|
|The Plot: After winning a successful battle, a high ranking official (Barry Wai) decides to bypass a very honorable raise in order to head home and look after his family. Without a specialty other than fighting, this once-great fighter must become a wandering entertainer. After being run out of town for not paying a cruel tax by the local authorities, this former warrior finds himself at odds with the local government who are pushing around a city full of honorable people. Also joining Barry Wai in this defiance are a pair of local martial artists. The first is a strong and good-hearted swordswoman (Nancy Yen), who simply wants to see the right thing done. The other is a strong butcher (Sit Hon), who defied the local officials (who were taxing small businesses, despite there being a decree stating that local offices should suspend taxation) and watched as his entire family was killed. Will these three be enough to take on the local government and their militia?|
When I really started to sit down and look at Militant Eagle in order to write my review, I found myself thinking back on it quizzically. Although the plot synopsis does not prove to be the most intellectually difficult to understand, the editing and the characters do make it fairly difficult to navigate. Featuring an assortment of similarly dressed characters with obtuse motivations, Militant Eagle proves to be an exorcize when it comes to keeping track of all the pieces. This is unfortunate, because the basic fundamental bits that make up the plot are certainly very intriguing. After all, it is a neat thing to run into a period-driven martial arts film that isn’t focused on the evil Ching. With as much history as China has, it seems odd to find so many movies using the same villains over, and over, again. With Militant Eagle the villains are no less greedy, but they seem like a local enemy rather than a invading force. This, along with the combination of wuxia and traditional hand-to-hand kung fu choreography, helps create a movie that can’t help but raise its head slightly above the mediocrity that this genre can sometimes perpetuate.