A lively kung-fu
romantic comedy from Hong Kong
, directed by Lui Chia Liang
(Lau Ka Leung) for the Shaw Brothers
Old and dying, the bachelor head of the Yu family marries a young orphan girl he has brought up as his daughter, in order to prevent the family fortune from falling into the hands of 'second uncle' Yu Wei (Wang Lung Wei) who would otherwise inherit.
The girl, Cheng (Hui Ying Hong), is instructed to give the deeds for the estate to third uncle (played by the director) which she accomplishes; but the evil machinations of Wei's surveilling team of henchmen help him steal the deeds. The only course is for third uncle's household to retrieve the deeds by force from his brother's rural stronghold. The attack is spearheaded by his son, played by Hsaio Hou (a legendary screen acrobat known as the 'Monkey King'), and Cheng herself.
While the dialogue is very non-naturalistic, given in broad brushstrokes, sometimes spoken in chorus, occasionally verging on the surreal, and generally at about the same level of realism as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the choreography is detailed, plausible, authentic and executed (stunningly!) with practically no help from wires, trampolines and other aids. Since there is a good deal more fighting than talking, this makes for good cinema.
Hui Ying Hong's sword skills alone make this worth seeing, for my money, and there are some impressive moves from director/choreographer Liu Chia Liang. The film also features a small role for Gordon Lau (Liu Chia Hui, most famous for his starring role in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin) as a mustachioed, crooning, guitar playing and trendy Hong Kong student.