An assassin accepts a dangerous mission to kill a political leader in seventh-century China.
J. Hoberman wrote:
“The Assassin” is extraordinarily beautiful. The film’s editing and narrative construction are, however, no less remarkable. For all its exquisitely furnished interiors and fantastic landscapes, “The Assassin” is far too eccentric to ever seem picturesque. Nor does it unfold like a typical wuxia. Mayhem is abrupt, brief and fragmentary — predicated on suave jump-cuts and largely devoid of special effects. Continue reading Hsiao-Hsien Hou – Nie yin niang AKA The Assassin (2015)
The Blade is a whirlwind of blood, color and stunning imagery. Rarely does one find an action movie so uncompromising and technically evolved as this offering from Hong Kong’s prolific director/producer giant Tsui Hark. Based on the “classic” kung-fu film The One-Armed Swordsman, The Blade tells the story of a young man adopted by the owner of a renowned sword smithy, who discovers that his true father was killed by an almost superstitiously powerful bandit, Lung “who it is said can fly!”. When he goes out seeking revenge with his father’s broken blade, he runs afoul of a group of vicious desert scum, and loses his right arm in the encounter. After being nursed back to health by an orphaned farmboy, he eventually learns to compensate for his loss, and with half a weapon, half a swordfighting manual, and one arm short of a pair, returns to confront the man who murdered his father. Continue reading Tsui Hark – Dao aka The Blade (1995)
The one-armed boxer is stalked by a vengeful flying guillotine expert, after his disciples were killed in the first ‘One-Armed Boxer’ film. But as the flying guillotine master is blind, he starts his quest by becoming a serial killer of one-armed men. Meanwhile, the one-armed boxer is running a martial arts school, where he teaches his pupils to control their breath so they can run up walls and along ceilings. And there’s an Indian fakir whose arms can extend until they’re ten feet long. As you may have gathered, a rational plot summary is pretty pointless – but rest assured there are epic martial arts battles and ludicrously inspired moments galore.
If you liked the “street fighter” or “mortal kombat” games, this movie is for you. Featuring various odd fighting style competetion, along with a “one-armed” hero, this is a classic that all kung-fu fans should see. Continue reading Yu Wang – Du bi quan wang da po xue di zi AKA Master of the Flying Guillotine (1975)
Martial Club can be loosely seen as a sequel to Challenge of the Masters as Gordon Liu revives the legendary character Wong Fei Hung. Once again we are given the ‘rival kung fu school’ storyline and the evil school bringing in an outside fighter to aid their treachery. He is also aided by his lady-friend, the consistently excellent, Kara Hui Ying-hung. The film is a blend of the schools feuding and trying to save face with Gordon Liu doing the slapstick routine with playing chum Robert Mak before the final showdown. Continue reading Chia-Liang Liu – Wu guan aka Martial Club (1981)
Five Western girls are kidnapped by Chinese pirates and sold to a brothel. While they are being trained to become prostitutes, a couple of local citizens take mercy on them and plots their escape by teaching them kung-fu. The five scantily-clad girls, using their newfound martial arts skills then fight their way to freedom. Continue reading Ernst Hofbauer & Chih-Hung Kuei – Yang Chi AKA Enter the Seven Virgins (1974)
In ancient China, before the reign of the first emperor, warring factions throughout the Six Kingdoms plot to assassinate the most powerful ruler, Qin. When a minor official defeats Qin’s three principal enemies, he is summoned to the palace to tell Qin the story of his surprising victory. Summary written by Yocke on imdb.
Continue reading Yimou Zhang – Ying xiong AKA Hero [Director’s Cut] (2002)
In feudal Japan, women are vulnerable, in need of protection, and capable of deception. Jokichi of Mikogami, a drifter, has not yet fully revenged the death of his wife and son. He searches for Kunisada Chuji, who in turn has hired the knife-throwing Windmill Kobunji to kill him. Kobunji and Jokichi meet in the winter, near Sasago Pass, when both have rescued women: Jokichi has saved the lute-playing Oyae whose clan and whose lover want her dead; Kobunji has rescued Oharu, a well-born woman married to an innkeeper. Is this rescue a whim or something deeper? And why does Jokichi become the consumptive Kobunji’s protector? What ultimately will Jokichi do about Oyae?
jhailey on IMDb Continue reading Kazuo Ikehiro – Mushukunin mikogami no jôkichi: Tasogare ni senko ga tonda AKA Mikogami Trilogy III: Slaughter in the Snow (1973)