A classic fantasy movie from Hong Kong starring Leslie Cheung and Brigitte Lin

The following summary contains spoilers.

That's a lethal hair-do!

On a snow-capped mountain one man waits for a flower to bloom. This is no ordinary flower however, it only blooms once every two decades and is reputed to revive the person who takes it.

This is told by the Emperor's men, who are on a mission to retrieve the flower for their dying leader. The man on the mountain-top is having none of this and kills them all. One of the men's last words are "Who is more important than the Emperor" to which the mysterious man answers "A woman."

We then find out that the mysterious man's name is Cho-Yo-Hang as he remembers his childhood as part of the 8 Clans and being trained hard by his master.

As a child he knew that his master wanted him to lead the clan one day, but he did not aspire to that. He tries to follow the teachings of his master and be chivalrous, but this just leads to him being chased by wolves in the middle of the night while carrying a baby goat. Luckily for him, he is saved at the last moment by the Wolf Girl playing her flute.

Asleep on the ground afterwards, he is found by a low-ranking soldier and they share a drink while the soldier offers his views on life. Cho Yo-Hang recounts that later the soldier goes on to become a General.

Back at the Clan with his brothers and sisters, it seems Cho is always getting into trouble. Either for eating in calligraphy class or beating people up. While he is being questioned by his elders after once such incident, we see that some years have passed and he has grown up.

While taking his punishment (facing the Buddha in the temple for 3 days without food) the people who testified against him try to make it up to him, and also one of his 'sisters' give him her father's Jade for safekeeping.

Out in the countryside a group of poor villagers steal military supplies for something to eat. Their hunger soon evaporates when they are attacked without mercy by the soldiers they stole it from. Into the middle of this carnage, comes a mysterious woman dressed in white who then uses her whip to cut up the soldiers.

Two villagers (a husband and wife) manage to escape, but the woman is in labour and cannot go far. For some reason, Cho Yo-Hang happens to be up a tree near them and hears her cries. He goes to help her and is surprised when the woman in white also appears to help.

Intrigued by the woman, he follows her to a ruined city and watches. She catches him however and says she should blind him for seeing her face, she doesn't do this though and is summoned back to the palace.

It turns out that the woman is actually the chief bodyguard of a Clan that seems to have two leaders, a brother and sister who are 'very close'. They give her orders to kill the leaders of the 8 Clans, which includes Cho's uncle, his master and Cho himself.

Bank at his clan, Cho has been chosen to lead an attack party against the clan that the woman in white belongs to. He doesn't agree, but is forced to go along with it.

During the night he is camped out with his fellow clan members, when suddenly the enemy clan attacks and the woman in white is with them. She tries to kill him, but stops and is injured by other member of Cho's clan.

Cho takes her to the same ruined city where they were before and removes the needle that struck her while sucking out the poisoned blood. This obviously does something for her as they have sex a lot.

Afterwards, Cho discovers that she doesn't know her first name so he gives her one. Her new name is Lei Ni-Chang.

Back at each of their respective clans, they want to know what happened to them and they blame each other for them leaving.

Lei Ni-Chang says she has one last thing to do and tells Cho to wait for her, she has to go see her masters about something...

As it reminded me of one of my favourite Hong Kong fantasy movies, The Storm Riders, I really liked this film and as it was made years before it was good to see where the inspiration for it came from.

It also reminded me of Swordsman II as it was very violent in places, but again it was made up for by the characters, locations and action sequences.

Rating : 8/10

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