Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original title: Lan Tou He
Hong Kong, 1976. Shaw Brothers. Screenplay by Kuang Ni. Cinematography by Chih Chun Ao, Arthur Wong. Produced by Run Run Shaw. Music by Eddie Wang. Production Design by Johnson Tsao. Costume Design by Chi-Yu Liu. Film Editing by Hsing-Lung Chiang, Yen Hai Li.
Ho, a foolish thief, finds himself in the hands of a kung-fu master when he steals jewels from a palace and is outwitted by a prince into becoming his follower. When it turns out that the prince is actually being stalked by one of his brothers looking to be chosen as the next heir to the empire, Ho becomes genuinely adoring of his leader and follows him out of loyalty and not just material obligation. Colourful and exciting, this bouncy martial arts film has very little to attach itself emotionally, but the fighting is wonderfully choreographed and there is a lot of humour to indulge in. These films are much like Hollywood musicals, with fights replacing songs: there isn’t always a good enough excuse to have the numbers, but goodness knows it’s fun watching the filmmakers come up reasons to do them all the same.