Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Champions of Shaolin (1981)

the original US title Two Champions of Death is a better name for this movie, since it's filled with a lot of killing.  and with a Chang Cheh that is saying something.

the movie kind of ties in with the other Shaolin movies he has done, except Hu Wei-Chen (Chiang Sheng) finally gets the spotlight (usually it's Fong Sai-Yuk or Hung Si Kwan). he teams up with Tung Chien-Chen (Lo Mang) to take down the local Manchu people.

I wanted to like this movie more than I did.  it has some great fights in it, and some cool weapons as well.  it's that the plot is a bit confusing.  to it's credit, it doesn't present the Qing/Wu Tang people as completely evil, which leads to the totally downer ending.

usually Chang has bloody endings, but they are triumphant.  this one, not so much.  nearly everyone dies, except for the niece of the villain, and two Shaolin men (I think they were the Fongs, which completely is not what allegedly happened).  I wonder how this went over in Hong Kong.

I remember seeing a picture of this in that book about martial arts in the movie (forget the actual name, but Ric Meyers co-wrote it) and they said it had certain problems like henchmen standing around looking bored.  not really, but based on one photo I could see why they thought that.

so worth a look, but not really a level one masterpiece.

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