Night Orchid (1982)

I just watched this on UK Amazon Prime under the name Master of Flying Dagger, it is also known as Demon Fighter, Orchids of Midnight, & Faster Blade – Poisonous Darts. I must say I was at first excited to watch a film with Brigitte Lin & Adam Cheng and with a screen play written by none other than Gu Long who is one of the big ‘Three’ of Wuxia authors (the other two being Jin Yong and Liang Yusheng). I was however deeply disappointed. It was odd, and I’m hoping that it is due to western editing of the original movie. However from what I can find out the movie length doesn’t suggest that it has been edited. There was too much gratuitous eroticism, the poorly dressed Chinese actors trying to be Indian Swordsman, then there was Lu I-chan’s wardrobe and make up which made her look like an 80’s pop star rather than a costume Chinese drama.

The special effects were either clever for 1982 or down right lazy for 1982.  The assassin popping out of the pregnant woman’s belly was a surprise.  I was laughing so hard I had to pause the film to regain my composure. The costumes themselves were okay for the heroes, but for the villains they were laughable.  Lu I-chan’s 80’s inspired outfit, the “Indian Swordsman” and the assassins in nylon stockings gave the movie a layer of silliness that I don’t think was intended.  However maybe it worked in 1982.  The soundtrack was another problem I had.  They even used “The Greatest Love of All” which was released in 1977 but most people remember Whitney Houston’s 1985 cover of the song. There is a lot of unexplained things that happen and assumed situations as well, however while researching this film it appears to be a habit of director to make low budget films that didn’t make much sense.

Enough about the negative.  The movie does have some strengths.  The acting by Brigitte Lin & Adam Cheng is a saving feature, so is the core plot which is a mystery (a Gu Long trademark) and if they would have just stuck to that without adding all the weird stuff then it could have been a really good movie.

It is based off of The Chu Liuxiang Series of Wuxia Novels that Gu Long has written. Other adaptations include Flying Daggers 2003 Taiwanese-Chinese television series, The Sentimental Swordsman, Perils of the Sentimental Swordsman (1982).

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Adam Cheng (The Sword, Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain, Fong Sai Yuk, Painted Skin, Saving General Yang) as So Chu

Brigitte Lin ( Zu: The Warriors from the Magic Mountain, Swordsman 2, The East Is Red, Deadful Melody,The Bride with White Hair) as SuSu

Don Wong (Duel in the Desert, 18 Swirling Riders, Eagle’s Claw )

Alan Chui Chung-San (Come Drink with Me, The Web of Death, The 7 Grandmasters, A Chinese Ghost Story (2011))

Eddy Ko (The Bride with White Hair 2, Fist of Fury, The Postman Strikes Back)

Fung Hak-on (Last Hero in China, Magnificent Warriors, Five Shaolin Masters, The Legendary Amazons) as Mister Learn

Lu I-chan as Miss Lan

Cho Kin (The Swordsman of All Swordsmen, A Touch of Zen, Return of the 18 Bronzemen)

Luk Yat-lung (Legend of Lu Xiao-Fong, Kung-Fu of Eight Drunkards)

Wong Fei-lung (Duel with Samurai, Kung Fu Inferno, One-armed Boxer vs. the Flying Guillotine)

Lung Fei (Broken Sword, The One-Armed Swordsmen, The Idiot Swordsman, My Blade, My Life)

Review

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