Category: shaw brothers

“Lady of the Moon” (1966)

“Mighty Peking Man” (1975). 

Shaw Brothers Studios in the 1960s group photo.

R. P. O’Brien.

Happy birthday to one of the greatest martial arts villains of all time (and occasional hero), Venoms Mob actor Lu Feng. 

I love how the two “hunks” of Shaw Brothers Kung Fu cinema of the 1970s, frequent co-stars Ti Lung and David Chiang, have now become mellow, kinda dorky, but very nice suburban Dads.

Ti Lung loves being a grandpa and loves teaching his grandkids Martial Arts…

And David Chiang left acting to help his wife recover from cancer (which she did):

“Holy Flame of the Martial World” (1983). A fantastical, mythological Kung Fu movie about a pair of twins seeking matching spears. It’s notable for both the special effects and for the phantasmagorical, surreal imagery, and for the fact it’s one of the rare Kung Fu films to have a female master villain. In the early 1980s, the trend in Hong Kong martial arts films for a couple of years was toward fantastical, special effects driven pieces (for instance, take Buddha’s Palm, or the very last of Cheng Cheh’s movies with the Five Venoms, The Weird Man, both of which came out in 1982).

It’s hard to see Holy Flame of the Martial World as anything other than a Shaw Brothers’ answer to Golden Harvest’s movie made that same year (1983), the first of Hong Kong’s very big special effects films, Zu: Warriors of the Magical Mountain, the film that announced the entrance of Tsui Hark to the world of Hong Kong cinema (he’d done a few movies before, but that was his first as the Tsui Hark we know, “Hong Kong’s Spielberg”). This movie was Antz to Zu’s Bug’s Life

If you want to see it, it’s on Amazon Prime now. Celestial, who own the rights to the Shaw Brothers catalog, have been pretty good about getting it all out there and available.

“Buddha Palm” (1982)

I don’t mean to disappoint anyone, but there was actually surprisingly little sex in the film. Still, an excellent example of the many ways to have a non-standard kung fu film. See also the Shaw Brothers’ “Tales of a Eunuch” (1983) for a good comedy kung fu film. 

Having only seen the chopped up, badly dubbed, poor VHS-transfer version of “Seven Blows of the Dragon” (which cut something like 45 minutes out) it was shocking to see the original version of the film, “The Water Margin” (1972) which was based on a work of literature and was a legit great film, like a Chinese answer to the Kurosawa samurai films.

If you have Amazon Prime, see “The Water Margin” now. One of the best Kung Fu films ever made.