This can’t be right, I thought. This sounds awesome, but I distinctly remember the movie being so incredibly boring that I almost gave up on finishing it. But then the fog cleared, and I remembered that part of what makes Amazons vs. Supermen such a colossal disappointment is that, in summary, it sounds like so much fun. But it isn’t.
Bat Without Wings takes the now familiar Chor Yuen wuxia trappings and injects an element of the horror film into them. Yuen’s style has always seemed somewhat informed by a combination of horror films and old mystery serials, packed as they are with sinister cults, trap doors, secret identities, and hidden chambers.
The Web of Death is one of those martial arts films in Chor Yuen’s catalog that is inessential, but nonetheless enjoyable. It provides a nice break for completists like myself, who have had to suffer through far worse in their mission to watch every single one of the man’s films.
The martial arts on display in Legend of the Bat are a wild and wonderful mixture of sword fights and kungfu clashes with plenty of supernatural abilities on display. People can punch through walls, jump over buildings, fight off dozens of attackers, and chop off their arm without giving it a second thought.
Within just a few years of Asia-Pol‘s release, Nikkatsu hit financial rock bottom and was forced to retool itself from being a purveyor of action films to the stylish kink of the more lucrative Roman Porno films it became known for in the seventies.
There are no eagles in it, and the acting and writing are nothing to highlight in your acting or writing class, but the cast is fun, the action is plentiful, and everything moves along nicely.
As far as anything-goes martial arts mayhem may go, the Bastard Swordsman saga may lack the breakneck choreography of Jackie Chan and Ching Siu-tung, or the technical ambition of Tsui Hark, but none of these short-comings really matter in the long run, because Bastard Swordsman and Return of the Bastard Swordsman are still spectacularly fun wuxia fantasies.
Although people come for the weirdness and spectacle, Bastard Swordsman offers plenty of other elements that make it worth staying around. For starters, taking a note from Chu Yuan, Lu’s film is packed with complex, well-developed characters. Norman Chu makes a compelling and empathetic lead. We root for him when he’s the abused underdog, and we cheer for him once he begins to discover his true potential as a fighter.
Above and beyond all else, kungfu films have always existed so that they can teach to us valuable life lessons. At their best, they are practically training manuals for how […]
As an example of the director’s mastery of staging fast-paced, action-packed swordplay drama, Magic Blade simply cannot be beat.