Legendary Weapons of China/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Legendary Weapons of China

Liu Gung (Lau Kar Leung) is a wanted man. For disbanding the boxer clan, he is branded as a traitor and the punishment is death. Three pupils are hired from each of the three schools (Spiritual Boxing, Maoshan and Magic Fighters) to track down and annihilate Liu Gung. One of the pupils to first find Liu Gung is a female from the Spiritual Boxing school, Fang Shao-Ching (Kara Hui) Who's disguised as a male (And of course, everyone fails to see through her disguise) but she's taken by surprise at the warm heart and cluelessness of Liu Gung who's seen as just a mild-mannered wood salesman. More hitmen began to show up, including Tieh Hon (Hsiao Hou) of the magic fighters. But it's Liu Gung who actuallly nurses Tieh back to health after Tieh spent too much time staking Liu out and catching a flu in the process. Among the last to confront Liu Gung is Ti Tan (Gordon Liu), Fang's uncle. And after a thrilling fight, Liu Gung explains his cause for all to hear. He disbanded the Boxer school in order to prevent the suicidal massacre of his students who seeked to obtain "invincible powers" against guns. One last confrontation lies ahead and it's between Liu Gung and the mastermind of the hunt, Lei Ying (Lau Kar-wing) one of Liu's former fighting brothers. One of the clues that lead the pupils to Liu's trail was his secretive arrangement of China's 18 Deadly Weapons (which he kept hidden in hay in his woodpile) but it's now time for old master Liu to whip out all the weapons and make a stand for both his life and the spirit of martial arts.

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This was another one of those movies that got slightly better for me upon a second viewing than the first. You might already know by now that Lau Kar Leung's martial arts films are less of the bloodthirsty, tragic variety and often focus more on comedy and messages. It's just that things come up a little short when dealing with the highly interesting plot-outline of "Kung Fu versus guns". Since this event would signal the end of man's superiority of martial arts when matched against a gun, I expected a much more involving story to be told. But I guess that's to be found elsewhere in a different film. Another thing that often has me labeling this as a mixed-bag is the far-too-long sequence involving Alexander Fu Sheng masquerading as Liu Gung which, IMO, slows the film down considerably. Though there is a bit of cute physical comedy towards the end of the scene (involving the possession tactics of Maoshan) it just happened to overstay it's welcome and ends up becoming too much of a "Welcome-Back" suggestion for Fu Sheng (who had previously suffered a car accident leaving him with broken legs). But it's good to know that the last half of the movie doesn't disappoint when it comes down to the star/director to show what he's made of. And this proves why you can see why Lau Kar Leung is a master at what he does.

Reviewed by Laydback

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