|The Plot: Taking place over two generations, we start off closer to the present with an elder martial artist teaching his pupil in the art of eliminating their enemies by way of picking off the weakest first. As things progress, we learn than the younger martial artist’s father was a high ranking official in the government and was also quite corrupt, and that these two are also fighting for his corrupt causes. We are shown in flashback that there was once a refugee of the Shaolin principals who was being protected by a kung fu school teacher (Ti Lung), and we are shown how he and his trouble making lackey (Alexander Fu Sheng) went about gathering other men to help protect this Shaolin leader. The manchu government however has other plans as they stir up a rival group of martial artists who are lead to believe that this great rebel is no more than a rapist and murderer. When they all finally come around however, these martial artists will bne the strongest in the world. 10 fighters of different styles, they will be the 10 Tigers. However, will these evil men in our present kill off all of these followers of the 10 Tigers?|
This is unfortunately going to be a fairly short interview, since really all you need to know about the movie is right there in my first paragraph. There are a few moments that really stick out and help elevate the film from being as bland as it could have been – including some of Chang Cheh’s patented gory violence. There’s a bit where during a fight sequence one character is strapped upside down, hanging from his feet – and has his head completely whacked off from his body with a flying jump kick. In your average martial arts flick, that might be the end of it but here thanks to Chang Cheh we’re treated to a massive arterial blood fountain that spews from the dead man’s neck. There’s another bit where a character rockets out a jetstream of blood from the top of his head as well, but I don’t want to spoil all of the really good stuff! In a film like this though, one can’t help but bring up more of the negative than those positives – simply because it had all of the fixings in order to be an absolute classic of the genre. We have an all star cast with some of the best minds behind the camera, and we see them drop the ball in the handling of the story despite Cheh not having a history of this. However, I also have a sneaking suspicion that the film I watched wasn’t the full feature. Watching on a English dubbed, absolutely terrible looking fandub – my experience with the film could have been flawed. The Celestial release looks to be about the same length so I don’t think my copy was cut, but I wonder if maybe with all of the actors involved there could have been studio trouble of some kind… that or the script was just severely lacking, who is to say. It does bring about questions though.