Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon could be called "Swordswomen Two." Three decades earlier, Shen Yi, Essie Lin Chia, and Pan Ying-tzu took on Shaw's first international superstar, Lo Lieh for the Han Family Sword - making this a four-star treat for action fans.
Shen Yi, Essie Lin, Pan Ying-tzu, Chang I, Lo Lieh
After moving to Hong Kong from China, illegal immigrant Mang (Cherie Chung) has no choice but to live in cramped quarters with male migrant workers who take advantage of her. In order to attain the chance for Hong Kong residency and a better life, she agrees to marry a lonely old carpenter (Kwan Hoi-shan). Soon after settling into her new life, Mang crosses paths again with Kong (Alex Man), a Thai-Chinese boxer, and the two develop a passionate affair.
Esteemed director Ho Meng-hua attained cult status among kung-fu film fans in the West with his wild and wacky martial arts hit THE FLYING GUILLOTINE. His unique directing approach focused more on the devastating nature of the horrific weapon than the kung-fu fights. One of Shaw Brothers' biggest kung-fu stars at the time, Chen Kuan-tai plays the leader of the ‘Flying Guillotine Squad’ a group of hand picked killers, commissioned by the Ching Emperor Yung Cheng, that use a deadly, beheading weapon to carry out the emperor's assassination assignments. It's actually based on a true story. Interestingly, the weapon used in the film was a complete fabrication because in real life, no one ever survived to tell what the actual weapon really looked like.
In a rare reversal of typecasting, Shaw Brothers' perennial bad guy Lo Lieh breaks tradition to play the honorable and noble swordsman in The Swift Knight. Similar to Danny Kaye's The Court Jester without the jest, it's tale of brave knights, chivalry and fair maidens where the Swift Knight (Lo Lieh) finds himself involved in romance, court intrigue and deadly jousts while trying to protect a baby who is the Emperor's secret heir apparent.
Lo Lieh, Margaret Hsing Hui, Huang Tsung-hsing, Chin Han
Three of Shaw Brothers' finest martial arts directors, who, between them, had made more than a hundred classics, united for this unique anthology film. Yueh Feng writes and directs a clever love-and-kung-fu triangle, Cheng Kang both writes and directs kung-fu courtesans battling brigands, and the "godfather of the kung-fu film," Chang Cheh, creates a cliff-hanging, swashbuckling mini-movie with maxi-action. It's three times the substance, style, skill, and stars in what truly stands as a motion picture event.
Shih Szu, Yueh Hua, Lily Ho, Lo Lieh, David Chiang, Ti Lung
The lovely Michelle Mei Suet plays a spoiled girl Szu-szu who ignores her true love Yang Fan (Yuan Te) to go off in search of a swordsman Chin Ko (Chen Kuan-tai) she idolizes. The search sets off one great action scene after another, until she's threatened to be sold into slavery but Yang Fan arrives in the nick of time! This amusing and entertaining variation on the standard kung-fu film is definitely a winner.
A gritty, realistic Chinatown tale about the life of an illegal immigrant who went through a sham marriage is indebted to thugs in this critically-acclaimed film.
The 5th Hong Kong Film Awards: Best Director (Mabel Cheung)
It's rare in any film industry that Part III of a classic has the same "umph!" as it's predecessors, but when you get legendary director Chang Cheh to return for a third time to helm much of the original terrific cast that includes Alexander Fu Sheng, Ti Lung and several of the "Five Venoms," it's just a masterpiece waiting to happen...again. And it does. Based on a classic kung-fu novel, The Brave Archer 3 delivers at all levels; mystery, magic, plot twists and of course brilliant martial arts action that has always been one of Shaw Brothers' calling cards of success. Chang's heroes live for death while wrapping themselves in their own universe, and at the right time, will altruistically explode. That's what makes this film a blast.
Director Chu Yuan has been hailed as the premiere screen interpreter of famed author Ku Lung's martial arts novels, and this is one of their best. This is an exciting tale of two rival swordsmen in imperial China vying with a power-hungry villain for possession of the dangerous "Peacock Dart"It showcases brilliantly choreographed fights, glorious settings, superb cinematography, exceptional scenes, and a strong cast. It all leads to a final showdown that stands out as a highpoint in kung-fu cinema.
Asian fans of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon recognized that its director Ang Lee was actually inspired by director Chu Yuan and novelist Ku Lung's wonderful tales of a "martial arts world" where all wushu warriors try to attain the "Deer Sword" and escape from the insidious maze-like "Toy Land." Master kung-fu choreographer Tang Chia leads the king and queen of Shaw - Ti Lung and Lily Li - to engage in a fascinating and entertaining swordplay adventure of consummate swordsmen and sorceresses.
The thrills continue in the second part of this cherished adventure, created by the renowned director Chu Yuan and ingenious novelist Chin Yung. Only the union of the title weapons can save the six remaining martial arts sects who are vying for mastery. So just sit back and enjoy the movie event which spawned a legacy that continues even today with a long-running, internationally loved television series, a role-playing game, and even collectible replicas of the Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre themselves!