I’ve watched a fair amount of Shaw Brothers films, by no means have I come close to watching them all, but Legendary Weapons of China is definitely in my top five best Shaw Brothers films ever! Everything about this movie is done correctly. You have a large ensemble cast that work well with each other and is scripted so there is no confusion on what is happening, or just questioning why they are there. Each person is there to play a part and they do that, when that part is over they are no longer in the movie. It works out really well. Maybe the writers for the Expendables should watch this and learn a thing or two.
As the name implies there are a lot of different style of weapons used, eighteen to be precise. However I was more impressed with the story then the actual use of the weapons, which is amazing by the way. The acting was enjoyable and I like Hsiao Ho and it was great to see him in a more leading role. The blending of action, drama, and comedy was done wonderfully (unlike Legendary Amazons), it never seems forced or inappropriate. Gordon Liu is always an excellent villain, which he rarely gets to play, so this was a nice added bonus to the script. Alexander Fu Sheng proves that he can play comedic roles as well as the dramatic. Hui Ying Hung is a fantastic actress and it is always a pleasure to see her work.
Now for the main Protagonist and Antagonist! Real life brothers Lau Kar-Leung and Lau Kar-Wing play brothers in the film! Lau Kar-Leung Action Director of over 170 films, Director of 25 films, Actor of 199 films and is a direct descendant (master-wise) of the legendary Wong Fei Hung! His brother Lau Kar-Wing is by no means unknown with Action Director of 80 films, Director of 17 films, and Actor of 161 films! Lau Kar-Wing is also a direct descendant of Wong Fei Hung. Gordon Liu is godson to Lau’s parents.
You may have noticed I’ve not said once what the movie is about, go get this movie and find out! It has been remastered by Celestial Pictures and is available in iTunes, Google Play, and Hulu. It is available to rent from USA Netflix and available for purchase on Amazon.
Liu Chia Liang (Lau Kar Leung) (The Flying Fox, The Assassin (1967), Drunken Master II, Seven Swords) as Uncle Yu / Lei Kung. He also directed the film and co-wrote it with Li Tut-Hang and was the Action Director.
Liu Chia Rong (Lau Kar Wing) (Invincible Boxer, Odd Couple, Once Upon a Time in China,The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter) as Lei Ying
Hsiao Ho (Dirty Ho, Iron Monkey, All three 36th Chamber movies, ) as Ti Hau
Alexander Fu Sheng (The Fourteen Amazons, Boxer Rebellion, Return of the Sentimental Swordsman) as Con Artist
Gordon Liu Chia-Hui (Executioners from Shaolin, Clan of the White Lotus, Painted Skin: The Resurrection) as Ti Tan
Chu Tit-Wo (Dragon Claws, The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, Sword Stained with Royal Blood) as Tieh Tien
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The 18 Weapon Styles
- Rope dart
- Double tiger hook swords (my personal favourite)
- Double hammers
- Battle axe (Chinese: 鈇; pinyin: Fū)
- Snake Halberd
- Kwan Dao
- Twin broadswords
- Double-edged sword
- Chinese Spear
- Three-section chain whip
- Double daggers (Chinese: 匕首; pinyin: Bǐ shǒu)
- Double crutches
- Monk’s spade
- Tiger fork (Chinese: 叉; pinyin: Chā)
- Rattan shield (Chinese: 藤牌; pinyin: Téngpái)
- Single butterfly sword
- Three-section staff