|Writers:||Ni Kuang, Chang Cheh|
|Starring:||David Chiang, Lung Ti and Ping Wang.|
|The Plot: Kuan Yu-Lou (Ti Lung) is a popular actor who doesn’t just play a tough guy on the stage, he truly lives up to his characters as he is also a fantastic martial artist. When a local thug named Hua Ching-fen (Ping Wang) starts openly flirting with Yu-Lou’s wife, he takes offense and roughs up several of Ching-fen’s boys. Cheng-fen isn’t the type to take something like this sitting down, so he sets up Yu-Lou and has his gang ambush the young actor. Yu-Lou fights dramatically and takes several men with him, but eventually has his eyes gouged out and his stomach pierced open. He dies, but he hasn’t been forgotten as his brother Kuan Hsiao Lou (David Chiang) comes back to town and immediately sets out on a path of vengeance. Hsiao Lou is brutal in his quest for blood and as he finds that there were others involved in the conspiracy to have his brother assassinated, the number of bodies begin to mount up as he carves his way through this underworld.|
Throughout the movie, Chang Cheh uses flashbacks, slow motion and overly sentimental values in order to express these ideas on the bonds of brotherhood. In fact, for a film that sees David Chiang committing murder in the name of a friend who he is supposed to have been so attached to, its interesting that we never see the two together in a scene that involves audible dialogue. Chang Cheh does a good job in crafting out this strong and sincere relationship between Ti Lung and David Chiang, without the two ever having to even spend a scene together. When David Chiang enters into the situation, after Ti Lung’s death, it is like a time bomb stepping into a scene. You don’t know when it is going to happen, but at some point an explosion of violence is going to erupt. Chiang’s lust for revenge is only substantiated through refresher scenes that show us slow motion shots of Chiang and Ti Lung laughing and enjoying their camaraderie. Although it seems like it should come across as silly, that this man would commit these atrocious acts in the name of a relationship we never even get to see, but Chiang is so deadly serious in his role that it is impossibly to question his loyalty.
While normally, I absolutely enjoy the English dubbing for old school Kung Fu films, this is one instance where I wish that I had the original audio track with subtitles. I realize that often times those audio tracks are dubbed themselves, but they couldn’t possibly be more distracting than the English audio is for this particular film. Although I can generally tell that David Chiang is supposed to be brooding and menacing in his role, the voice that he is stapled with simply does not match his body. The voice sounds like a man on the verge of being elderly, which just does match with the youthful and angst ridden David Chiang. Aside from that, other technical accomplishments include awesome photography that makes good use of on-location shooting and epic Shaw Bros. sets that seem like a vast labyrinth of tightly enclosed areas. The music is also worth noting, as it seems inspired by the somber jazz tunes of American film noir. Although Hong Kong has a history of crime films, this one seems patently American in its texture but helplessly Hong Kong in so many other ways.