Martial Arts

Yuen Chor – Jue dai shuang jiao AKA The Proud Twins (1979)

When his father is killed in the Valley of the Villains, the young boy is taken away by his father’s best friend Yen Nan Tien. Yen seeks to find out why his friend was killed. The boy also has a twin brother, who has a variety of foster parents after the death of this father – some of them are villains, some of them are benign. The last set of foster parents were strange, cynical and cunning villains. The boy, by now an accomplished martial artist, kills them and sets out in search of the answer to the riddle of his father’s death. In the course of his searches, he encounters his twin. At first they seem likely to fight one another, but they eventually join forces.
~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide. Read More »

Satsuo Yamamoto – Zatôichi rôyaburi AKA Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967)

Synopsis:
When a local gambling house kidnaps some peasants because they failed to pay their debts, a rival gambling house pays their debts and sets them free. But it’s really all just a plot to enlist Ichi’s aid in eliminating the competition. Once that’s been attended to, the master of the surviving house of chance grabs more and more power – and more cash from the hapless farmers. Even a blind man can see that justice must be done. Read More »

Kazuo Kuroki – Rônin-gai aka Street of Masterless Samurai (1990)

Kazuo Kuroki’s international award-winning period drama was produced in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the death of Shozo Makino, “the father of Japanese films.” Set in the 1830s near the end of the age of the samurai, Ronin Gai is populated by an ensemble of colorful characters, social outcasts who patronize a restaurant and brothel on the outskirts of Edo. Among them are prostitutes and masterless samurai reduced to drunkenness and debauchery. The disgraced and disillusioned former warriors get a chance at redemption when renegade samurai invade the area to murder the prostitutes. Read More »

Yimou Zhang – Ying xiong AKA Hero [Director’s Cut] (2002)

Quote:
In ancient China, before the reign of the first emperor, warring factions throughout the Six Kingdoms plot to assassinate the most powerful ruler, Qin. When a minor official defeats Qin’s three principal enemies, he is summoned to the palace to tell Qin the story of his surprising victory. Read More »

King Hu & Hsing Lee & Ching-jui Pai – Da lunhui aka The Wheel of Life (1983) (DVD)

Daw Ming Lee, The Historical Dictionary of Taiwan Cinema:
King Hu’s next film was a portmanteau film,The Wheel of Life/Da lunhui (1983), in which he once again codirected with Lee Hsing and Pai Chingjui, as he did in Four Moods. The Wheel of Life revolves around romance between two men and a woman that repeats itself in several generations. Hu was responsible for the story of the first generation, set in the Ming dynasty that he was most familiar with. It is an intriguing romantic story involving a secret service agent, the daughter of the governor, and the leader of the antigovernment army who is plotting vengeance. Hu directed the episode well. This film, too, failed at the box office. Read More »

Wei Lo – Bing tian xia nu AKA Vengeance of a Snowgirl (1971)

Synopsis:
The head-slicing Snow Maid heroine is enraged after she learns that her mother has been raped by a gang of thugs. The vengeful woman picks up her sword and seeks out the notorious Golden Hair Mouse for high-flying, hard-hitting revenge. Read More »

Kenji Misumi – Zatôichi kenka-daiko AKA Samaritan Zatoichi (1968)

Synopsis
Zatoichi is forced to kill a young man who owes a debt to a yakuza boss. Moments later, his sister Osode arrives with the money she earned (prostituting herself) to pay his debts. The bosses true motives are revealed and he attempts to steal Osode even though the debt is paid. Zatoichi realizes his grievous error and protects the girl from the gang. Osode and Zatoichi are caught in a dilemma as she must rely on her brother’s killer for protection and Zatoichi wrestles with the injustice he has caused. Read More »