» » Wu lin feng yun (1970)

Short summary

Three sisters unite with a cousin to avenge their father who was killed by a group of noblemen with ties to a criminal gang.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: VizoRRR
    It starts with a funeral at Fort Gan. "Old Jade Face" (a name I made up to recognize the actor) Chen Hung-Lieh is there under false pretenses. He demands the family give the Violet Light Sword to the emperor but plans to keep it. Three sisters try to hide it and cousin Chang Yi arrives to defend it.

    I must give applause to Chang Yi. In 1967 he came on the scene as the typical leading man who was not a martial artist. Here it is four years later and he is using a range of weapons and sixteen plus moves per cut. He even does forward flips with his sword demonstration scene at about the 19 minute mark. Chang Yi looks as if he has been practicing martial arts every day since his appearance in "King Cat." He only gets better in the coming years. Same as other leading men such as Lo Lieh, Chang Yi started his career playing heroes and ended playing villains. Then he retired to Canada and lived happily ever after, or so I have read.

    Since none of the other actors had any martial arts skills the action director compensated with the shaky camera and close ups during the fight sequences. This works as long as the camera is neither too shaky nor too close. Here, they got it right.

    The best part is that the last 20 minutes is almost nonstop action. The appearance of James Tien as the Taoist master seems to be a Deus Ex Machina ending. I wonder if they realized they didn't have the runtime for a proper movie and tossed that in.

    Overall I rate this as above average for the year and genre and recommend it to all fans.
  • comment
    • Author: Ueledavi
    A TASTE OF COLD STEEL (1970) has a slight plot but is filled with so much well-staged action and a solid cast of expert Shaw Bros. players that the short running time (78 min.) speeds by quickly enough to hide the plot holes. Three sword-fighting sisters are joined by an equally skilled cousin to go after the nobleman who'd killed their father and has since aligned with a gang of bandits, the Five Tigers, recruited with promises of the treasure to be had by raiding Fort Gan, where the sisters reside. During the raid, the Five Tigers and their band abduct the eldest sister and force the others to flee. The bandits also take the treasured Violet Light Sword, which is supposed to have immense power. The remaining sisters and their cousin have to figure out how to infiltrate the bandits' stronghold and free their sister and retrieve the sword. That's pretty much all there is to it.

    The bandits are quite a sadistic bunch and treat everyone, including their own allies, with the utmost brutality. They regularly beat and torment the lead villain, Lu, son of Lord Wuyi, who covets the Violet Light Sword as much as Brave Tiger, leader of the Tigers. They frequently come to blows over it, although Brave Tiger clearly has the advantage. The Violet Light Sword is shown slicing through a couple of opponents' swords, but doesn't do much beyond that.

    The action scenes are staged and directed by Hsu Erh Niu, aka Simon Hsu, who's done the fight choreography for a number of Shaw Bros. movies, including HEADS FOR SALE, BROTHERS FIVE, THE YOUNG AVENGER, BLACK TAVERN, AMBUSH, THE DRAGON MISSILE, and VILLAGE OF TIGERS, all of which I've reviewed for IMDb, along with VENGEANCE OF A SNOWGIRL, DUEL FOR GOLD, THE SHADOW WHIP, and THE FLYING GUILLOTINE, quite a remarkable list of credits. The fight scenes invariably involve multiple combatants fighting at once in large indoor or outdoor spaces with the camera tracking to follow the action. Participants have to learn lots of moves and hit their marks exactly so they have to be on their toes for a lot longer period than for a normal fight scene. Here the cinematographer, Pao Hsueh Li, has opted to take the camera off the tripod and shoot hand-held for such scenes, which gives it an immediacy that some might find refreshing, but also prevents every move from being seen that clearly as the camera moves past props and sets that block the action occasionally.

    The three sisters are played by Shu Pei Pei (so impressive in VILLAGE OF TIGERS), Essie Lin Chia (SWORDSWOMEN THREE) and Yau Ching. Chang Yi, a notable star at Shaw Bros. early in his career, plays their cousin. He went on to play formidable villains in a long array of memorable kung fu films for other companies (e.g., EAGLE'S CLAW, FATAL NEEDLES FATAL FISTS, CHALLENGE OF DEATH). Huang Chung Hsin, always a dependable heavy, plays Brave Tiger. Ku Feng plays the whip-wielding One-Eyed Tiger. Wu Ma plays the hunchbacked Sick Tiger. Wang Hsieh, in a rare heroic role, plays the sisters' uncle. Chen Hung Lieh (Jade Faced Tiger in COME DRINK WITH ME) plays Lu. Other familiar Shaw actors populate the smaller roles and keep it interesting throughout.
  • Credited cast:
    Pei-Pei Shu Pei-Pei Shu - Kan Chiao-nan
    Yi Chang Yi Chang - Hsu Chin
    Chia Essie Lin Chia Essie Lin - Kan Ah-nan
    Hung Lieh Chen Hung Lieh Chen - Prince Lu Tien Hsia
    Hsieh Wang Hsieh Wang - Uncle Hsu
    Ching Yu Ching Yu - Kan Shing-nan
    Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
    Szu-Ying Chien Szu-Ying Chien - Wake mourner
    Chin Chu Chin Chu
    Mien Fang Mien Fang - Dr. Kuo
    Hsing Chun Hsu Hsing Chun Hsu
    Simon Hsu Simon Hsu - Crippled Tiger
    Chung-Hsin Huang Chung-Hsin Huang - Fierce Tiger
    Liu Hung Liu Hung - Drunken Tiger
    Feng Ku Feng Ku - One-eyed Tiger
    Wei Lieh Lan Wei Lieh Lan
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