on 27 April 2014
Stunning early Shaw Brothers film featuring legendary director Chang Cheh and his favourite protégé's David Chiang,Ti Lung and Chen Kuan Tai.This feature's the familiar Chang Cheh themes of brotherhood and betrayal,the story is told in retrospect from the point of David Chiang's character Chang.It tells how he and his brother Hung (Chen Kuan Tai) who are both robbers become friends with Ti Lung's character Ma.The story follows their adventures as blood brothers as they win many battles and Ma becomes a high ranking military official.Ma sends for his 2 blood brothers and their army,intrigue ensues when Ma (Ti Lung) falls for Hung's (Chen Kuan Tai) wife.From here on the trio's relationship begins to fall apart,I won't give any more away just to say that this make's for engrossing viewing.Please don't go into this expecting an all out fight fest,like Chang Cheh's later venom's pics it's just not that kind of film.Considered by many to be Chang Cheh's best film,if you just consider his pre venom's output I would have to agree.A stunning film,shot on a grand scale featuring a complex and engrossing storyline,featuring 3 stars at the height of their powers.Thanks for reading and I hope that you enjoy the film.
on 16 September 2015
Two brothers who make a living by stealing from those better off than themselves come into contact with a Ma, lone drifter. After attempting to rob him the three become close friends and end up running their own gang. Ma however has higher aspirations and aims to become a General in the army and his love for his new friends wife will have traumatic consequences.
Many people regular this as one of 'The Iron Triangles' greatest collaborations, I however couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed. That maybe because I felt the action scenes were just averagely staged in the first half of the film compared to other director Chang Cheh's films and the relationship between the three main characters could've been a lot better.
Ti Lung gives one of his most unusual performances as Ma. Instead of playing his traditional heroic role he gives a great portrayal of a man who is desperate for power and will stop at nothing to get it. His character however is also driven by love, the love however is for his close friends wife which will lead him to murder his best friend. His two bandit blood brothers are played by his regular co-star David Chiang and Chen Kuan-Tai.
When I heard about this film I expected to see a strong bond between the three leads. However it is clear from the start that the only relationship is between Chen and Chiang. Lung seems to stay on the outside and it is only with Chen's wife that he starts to form a relationship.
The opening scene has a light hearted fight sequence between Chen Kuan-Tai and Ti Lung which is okay but I've seen far better action scenes. Then from there on we get a couple of small fights here and there (most feature unarmed combat). However the film really picks up in the final 30 minutes where we witness the murder of Chen Kuan-Tai and then David Chiang's quest for vengeance. The climax features a great fight sequence between Chiang and Lung, which mixes in some impressive use of slow motion.
Yung-Yu Chen's music is average hardly noticeable really throughout. I did however notice a couple of times he briefly uses a extract from the score from Yojimbo which was the best part of the music.
Overall its a good film that only really steps it up in the final 30 minutes.
GREAT DVD QUALITY, Eng Subs