Thursday, December 10, 2015

Trilogy of Swordsmanship (1972)

I don't know what connects these three short movies so that they called this a trilogy, but each one has a bandit theme in it. Not evil bandits, but heroic bandits like those in 108 Liang Shan Bandits.

1. The Iron Bow
It was like in a wayang story: "if you can draw this bow and shoot a bird with it, you can marry my daughter". The magistrate' son wanted to marry Ying Ying, the daughter of a teahouse's owner. The teahouse's owner, a widow, agreed with a condition: he must be able to draw the iron bow left by her late husband. We could guess that the magistrate's son couldn't draw the bow. Then came Master Kuang, who was an expert with bow and arrow. Ying Ying liked him, but the magistrate's son accused Master Kuang as a bandit and Master Kuang fleed to the capital. Knowing that Master Kuang had left, the magistrate's son forced Ying Ying to marry him. The wedding procession ended up in a blood-bath as the magistrate's son and his men were killed. Ying Ying, her mother and their servant left the teahouse to catch up with Master Kuang in the capital.

Shih Szu as Ying Ying and Yueh Hua as Master Kuang

2. The Tigress
This was the best among the three. At first it seemed like a funny movie, but the surprise ending was heart melting. Casting Lo Lieh as the bandit  was a good idea for he usually played the bad guy so who would have thought that this time he played a bandit with a noble heart. The point of view was also different from the other two, as we saw the case from the officer's.

Shih Chung-yu (Lily Ho) begs the minister to let her die
together with General Wang (Chung Hua)
General Wang was obsessed with a well-known prostitute named Shih Chung-yu a.k.a The Tigress. He was called by the minister to fight a group of bandits led by Pang Xun, but refused because he was having a good time with Shih Chung-yu. This resulted in a death penalty, but Shih Chung-yu pleaded with the minister to pardon him. General Wang had to capture Pang Xun to redeem himself. Meanwhile, Shih Chung-yu had won the heart of the minister's mother who gave her the right to lead the mission to capture Pang Xun. The minister didn't believe she could do the task, so she made a bet with him that she would capture the bandit in 3 days and if she succeeded, the minister must called her 3 times in front of everybody as his god-sister. She captured Pang Xun and when the bandit was awaiting for his death punishment, she learned the truth that Pang Xun had saved her life in the past and became a bandit because of her.

Shih Chung-yu plays pi pa to see Pang Xun (Lo Lieh) off
3. White Water Strand The survivors of Liang Shan tried to free Xu Shi-ying, who was being escorted in White Water Strand by the government troops. They met Mu Yu-ji, a kung-fu master, who didn't take any side, but helped both to prevent more killings. The government troops's leader took Mu to a restaurant as a thanks for helping his men, but drugged his wine, arrested him, and would beheaded him at the next day as an example for other rebels. Xu Shi-ying and his gang must rescue him and spread the news that Minister Liu had surrendered to the Jin dinasty and that the state general Guan Sheng from Liang Shan had been executed.

Xu Shi-ying (Ti Lung) rescues Mu Yu-ji (David Chiang)

No comments: