(“New One-Armed Swordsman”)
Production: Hong Kong, 1971
Director: Chang Cheh
Category: Martial Arts
Despite the kung-fu boom of the early 70s, swordplay movies were still being profitably made in Hong Kong. When Wang Yu left Shaw Brothers, they were quick to replace their departed talisman with not one but two new stars: David Chiang and Tung Li, who acted in a series of period action films directed by Chang Cheh from 1970–73 which included Shuang Xia (“Two Swordsmen”, 1971) and Ci Ma (“Spurs”, 1973). David Chiang also reprised the mantle formerly worn by Wang Yu when he took the lead in Xin Du Bi Dao. Chiang plays Lei Li, a sword-fighter who cuts off his own arm in shame after defeat by a false martial arts master and retires to the humble life of a servant. Despite his assertion that “ordinary people are happier than swordsmen”, he is lured back to fighting ways by master swordsman Feng (Ti Lung). The film examines the fraught relationship between the two, one confident and super-skilled, the other dark, withdrawn – and crippled; but as usual, the fight set-pieces are the real highlights. Both occur inside the sinister Tiger Fort, where Ti Lung is hacked to bits by a mass of armed guards, and where Lei Li later unleashes a mass slaughter of revenge before defeating his martial arts nemesis. Chiang and Lung also appeared in some of Chang Cheh’s more modernistic dramas such as Bao Chou (“Revenge”, 1970), a grim and violent revenge tale set in 1920s Shanghai, and Da Jue Dou (“The Big Duel”, 1971), a blade-fighting gangster story released in the US as Duel Of The Iron Fist.

Posted by Cryptomaniac

Related Post