Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Last Hurrah for Chivalry (1979)

Like The Sword (1980), the swordplays in Last Hurrah for Chivalry look wonderful. One did not merely bang his sword to the opponent's sword, but aimed for the body. It was attack and defend.

If a movie is made with care, if the director is not burdened with a target (like he have to make several movies in a year), with a good choreographer (or two) and capable actors; the result can be as good as this one. For scenes like in this movie only could be achieved with intensive rehearsals and many takes.

First, we were introduced to Ko Peng. He was about to marry an-ex prostitute. He had bought her liberty with 1000 taels, but apparently he had forgotten to test her love and loyalty, for she betrayed him when someone paid her more money.

The wedding ceremony was trashed by Pak Chong-tong and his gang. He claimed that Ko Peng's recent house had been his, that Ko Peng's late father had taken the house from him, and now he came to get it back. At this moment, we perhaps took pity of Ko Peng, but as the movie progressed, we would see how evil his character was, how he destroyed good traditional values. Ko Peng was played by Kong Lau. I often see him playing supporting characters in TVB series, so I was rather surprised to see how good he played the final duel vs Wei Pai and Damian Lau.

Pak Chong-tong, on the other hand, was also not a good master. We saw how bad he treated his men. He used them to kung-fu practice. He beat them and didn't care whether they got hurt, crippled, or dead.

Then we were introduced to the two protagonists: Cheung Sam 'The Magic Sabre' and his friend Tsing Yi (Greeno). Tsing Yi was a killer for hire, but Cheung Sam seemed to have retired. This latter often bullied his sister's future husband.
Tsing Yi (Damian Lau), Cheung Sam (Wei Pai), and
a waterfall between
Cheung Sam's mother was gravely ill. Ko Peng, who wanted to kill Pak Chong-tong, heard about Cheung Sam's great skill, but realized that he could not buy him with money. Ko Peng gave Cheung Sam's dying mother the best medicine and when she died, held a big burial ceremony. Cheung Sam now owed him and voluntarily worked for him.

A hitman and a prostitute
Tsing Yi and the woman who loves him
Ko Peng paid a killer of hire named 'Let It Be' (strange name...) to kill his own teacher and let Cheung Sam take vengeance for him. Cheung Sam successfully killed Let It Be and later went for Pak Chong-tong. Tsing Yi knew that Cheung Sam wouldn't be able to handle Pak Chong-tong alone, so he went with him to help.

Cheung Sam vs Let It Be
When Pak Chong-tong attacked Ko Peng's marriage, he was the only one high-skilled, but now he surrounded himself by great fighters, notably the Sleeping Buddha. After Cheung Sam killed Pak Chong-tong, why would Ko Peng not leave him alone? I don't know why Ko Peng had to remove Cheung Sam and Tsing Yi. Would it be a disgrace if the world knew he hired Cheung Sam and Tsing Yi to get his house back? Or did he just like to kill everyone around him?

Cheung Sam vs Ko Peng

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