Legendary Weapons of China (1982)

Posted in Reviews by - November 03, 2012
Legendary Weapons of China (1982)

Another righteous morality tale from the Lau family. Here, reckless youth fail to adhere to their forefathers and unscrupulous governments threatened by inadequacy take desperate measures to combat the new world order.

Boxer Rebellion, China: black magic is considered the only defence against the force of foreign artillery. A trio of brainwashed and deeply committal spiritual boxers (one of which tears off his own penis as a sign of his unwavering loyalty) follow governmental decree and vow to hunt out and kill the legendary traitor Lui Gung – former head of the Black Magic Unit and master of all 18 weapons of China, now enjoying the quiet life as a solitary woodchuck.

The trio comprise of a woman disguised as a man (Kara Hui, wearing a manly hat), a monk with an iron head (Gordon Liu) and a sprightly but confused fighter (the brilliant Hsiao Ho) who is nursed back to life by his sworn enemy.

That is already quite a lot to think about, but then Lui Gung’s brother steps in and the final showdown just goes wild. In a gloriously extended if self-gratifying marathon encounter, the Lau brothers make it through just about every weapon ever constructed for use in Chinese combat. The name of the weapon appears on screen for added clarification, just so you have time to cross off ‘Double Axe’ or ‘Double Tiger Hook Swords’ from your checklist.

In less talented hands such an endeavor would become tedious. It is only Lau’s sublime choreography and inventiveness that makes the sequence work. When you finally see the old master in action, it is the equivalent of watching a revered champion figure skater taking to the ice. Mesmerising.

This Shaw title should satisfy the kung fu purist, the art film buff and the casual stoner in all of us.

AKA: 18 Legendary Weapons of China; Legendary Weapons of Kung Fu; New Legendary Weapons of China

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