Friday, September 30, 2016

The Legend of the Passionate Daqi Hero - by Gu Long

I really like the hero in this story, a member of Tay Ki (=Daqi) Clan, named Thiat Tiong-tong. He was not very tall, small built, had a black-skinned face and a pair of sharp eyes. He was very smart and loyal.

Tay Kin Clan had few members, but the rules were very strict. This little clan had a feud with five big families. Thiat Tiong-tong and his fellow brother, Im Ceng, broke the clan's rules and they were banished from the clan for three years. If after 3 years they could show that they were worth to be Tay Ki members, they could rejoin the Clan.

In his difficulties, Thiat Tiong-tong always be able to evade his enemies. He even be able to save others. Unfortunately, Im Ceng mistakenly thought that Thiat Tiong-tong had betrayed Tay Ki Clan and tried to kill him every time.  When Im Ceng realized his mistake, it was a moving scene. He was told that 'surrounded by many enemies, Thiat Tiong-tong had a chance to save only one person. And he chose to save you, while he himself fell off a cliff.'

The relationship between Thiat Tiong-tong and Sui Leng-kong, the girl he loved, was unique and strong. He was, at first, afraid to develop his feelings for her because he believed that she perhaps was his cousin, his father's brother's daughter. [It was okay to marry her if she was his cousin from his mother's side.] This couple understood each other perfectly without saying any words.

I was surprised when I reached the end of the book. The enemies were eliminated by supporting characters, while our hero was trapped in an underground cave. Thiat Tiong-tong was learning the highest level of fighting skills but he didn't use it in this story because he was still trapped in a cave when the story ended. I know Khu Lung often ended his books badly, but this has gone too far, don't you agree?

There was still an addendum, though, a conclusion. [Is it written by the author or someone else?] Thiat Tiong-tong finally could escape from the cave after all, with helps from his friends. He married Sui Leng-kong and their son probably was the famous Coh Liu-hiang (=Chu Liu-hsiang).

First published in 1965, this book is one of Khu Lung's best works. Wish he had spent more time to write the ending, though.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sword Stained with Royal Blood - by Chin Yung

I watched 3 movie versions based on this book, 1980 version with Wang Yue, 1982 version with Kuo Chui, and the 1993 version with Yuen Biao. The 1982 version is closer to the book, the 1980 version has different twists, and the 1993 version makes me think whether it was based on the same book :-)

Chin Yung books are always interesting to read. Reading this one, I again was reminded why he had become the most successful wuxia writers all the time.

The book started with the story of Hau Tiau Cong, a scholar, and his servant, who were attacked by robbers. They were saved by farmers - or swordsmen in disguise - who were taking care of the only son of General Wang Cong Hoan. General Wang Cong Hoan had been very loyal to the country, but the emperor sentenced him to death because of a false accusation. Chased by the royal army, the general's son, Wan Sin Cie, was taken to a teacher from Hoa San Clan.

Years passed. Wan Sin Cie was now a young man and very skillful in martial arts. He found the legacy of the Golden Snake swordsman in a hidden cave in Hoa San. In his next journey, he met the Golden Snake swordsman's wife and daughter. He learned the tragic story of the Golden Snake swordsman. He also fell in love with the Golden Snake swordsman's daughter, who was -unfortunately - a very jealous girl. That time was a turmoil - it was the end of Ming dynasty - and Wan Sin Cie's girlfriend a couple of times ranaway, made him busy to find her back.

Wan Sin Cie also found a treasure map, another legacy from the Golden Snake swordsman. He used the money to help the rebels against the emperor. In his journey, Wan Sin Cie also met with the Princess -in disguise. This princess, who lost an arm when the dynasty fell, cut off by her own father, appeared again in other Chin Yung book: The Deer and The Cauldron.

The rebel story also did not end happily here. Wan Sin Cie's sworn brother, like his father, was convicted of treason and executed. On the grave of his sworn brother, Wan Sin Cie met again with Hau Tiau Cong, the scholar he met when he was a little boy. So the character Hau Tiau Cong was used for the opening and ending of this book. Disappointed with the way how the country was run, Wan Sin Cie brought his friends to the South Sea, to seclusion.

The Golden Knight - by Qing Hong

This book by Qing Hong / Chin Hung is one of the best I have read. I don't know its original title, but in Indonesia it was published with the title 'Raja Silat'. I remembered there was a Shaw Brothers movie 'The Golden Knight' (1970) based on this book.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was written with much humour and the plot was more complicated that the movie version.

The central character was a handsome 20-year-old swordsman named Ie Lip Tong. He was very smart and romantic-or at least he thought he was. His father had been killed by leaders of the 5 main clans under a false accusation, so he tried to clean his fathers's good name and re-build his clan.

The story began with a new security bureau, Boan Chio Security in Tiang An. This security bureau did not escort goods, but solved mysteries. In the martial arts world at that time, the good guys was led by Hong-lay-sian-ong. If there was a problem between or among different clans, they had to go to Hong-lay-sian-ong and he would be the judge. Under Hong-lay-siang-ong, there was 12 emissaries who wore yellow robes as their identity. These 12 chosen swordsmen were more skillful fighters and smarter than others.

There had been mysterious murderer who targeted people from the 5 clans. Since they couldn’t catch the murderer, the people from 5 clans accused Ie Lip Tong, whose father had been killed by the leaders of the 5 clans. They couldn’t think of other suspect than Ie Lip Tong. Only Ie Lip Tong had a grudge on them. The 12 emissaries from Lu San (Mountain Lu) – the headquarters of Hong-lay-sian-ong – couldn’t find Ie Lip Tong, so Emissary No.8 went to Boan Chio Security to ask them to find Ie Lip Tong.

With much ease, the owner of Boan Chio Security found Ie Lip Tong. Swordsman no.8 brought the young man to Lu San for trial, but the people from the 5 clans wouldn’t believe that Ie Lip Tong was not the murderer. They sentenced him to death.

But as Ie Lip Tong was our main character, surely he wasn’t dead. He went out and found the real murderer and found a gang who flayed people and used the skin for disguise. He cleaned his name, twice, and his father’s name. He also became Emissary No.13.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Golden Sword, Eagle Feathers by Wolong Sheng

I wanted to read this book after reading in a discussion, how the translator, Tjan ID, mentioned that the story was very exciting. The translator had translated many wuxia books and I like his style, so I believed his judgement. Here, the book was published into 4 parts - due to its long story. Today I finished reading them all and hoped that it would have been longer.

When I was reading the first part, I thought that the book was very action packed. The characters ran and fought over and over again After escaped from one enemy, another enemy was waiting ahead. It seemed that they never rest. Even I as a reader felt tired. I read this first part slowly. When I got to the end of the second book, the characters had grown on me. So when reading book 3 and 4, I almost couldn't it down and read until 3 o'clock in the morning, when I said to myself that I really needed to put it down and get some sleep.

This is the first book of Wolong Sheng I've read. After reading this book for days, of course I couldn't say that I didn't like it. I only hope that it had more dialogues so the characters could rest. They could be talking instead of fighting all the time.

The central character was a hero named Siau Ling, the only son of a rich retired official. When the story began, Siau Ling was a 12 year old weak boy. He suffered a strange illness so that he couldn't live until 20 years old. His parents saved a grave-wounded heroine, who months later died in the house. The heroine's only daughter, Gak Siau-cha, who was 4-5 years older than Siau Ling, came and took her mother's body away. Siau Ling begged to come with her because he also wanted to bury the body and he wanted to see the outside world, since he would be dead in a couple of years. After leaving the house, Gak Siau-cha and Siau Ling were chased by many people. It had been said that Gak Siau-cha's mother had had the only key to a place called 'The Forbidden Palace" [when I first read this I kept thinking of the palace in the Forbidden City. but it was not.]. The rumor said that ten great swordsmen had been trapped in that place and who could get into the place, he would inherit their kung-fu manuals.

After long chases, Siau Ling was separated from Gak Siau-cha. He fell into a river, was saved, brought into a cave in a mountain, where he fell off a cliff and ate 1000 year old rare mushrooms. He also met three great people who became his kung-fu teachers. During this time, his illness had been cured and he surely could live a long life. Five years later he appeared in the martial arts world as a handsome, brave young hero; and found that somebody else had been using his name. Soon he was tricked and became a member of the White Flower Village. The leader was an smart evil swordsman called Jen Bok-hong. When Siau Ling realized his mistake and wanted to break free, Jen Bok-hong caught his parents to threaten him.

But Siau Ling - who at this time should be about 17 years old - didn't gave up and kept fighting Jen Bok-hong. As the story went, we would learn how lucky our hero was. He was caught, poisoned, and almost died a couple of times... yet he could live until the end of the book - because he was the hero. It took 2 years for Siau Ling to became a greatly admired hero. In the beginning he was the only one who would stand up against Jen Bok-hong, but near the end of the book, almost all heroes supported him in his battle. He was supposed to be smart, but he was tricked again and again. Only in book 4 he indeed had learned a lot from his mistakes and showed the readers that he was smart.

Gak Siau-cha, after she and Siau Ling met again, had become an admired heroine. She lived in seclusion, but three high-skilled young handsome swordsmen were crazy about her, and the three would kill Siau Ling for he was the only obstacle if they wanted to marry Gak Siau-cha. But Siau Ling himself thought of Gak Siau-cha as his older sister. He was rather afraid of her, out of respect. "Siau Ling fears no heaven no earth, but he fears Gak Siau-cha."

Siau Ling himself, was described as very handsome. He was even more handsome than the 3 swordsmen who wanted Gak Siau-cha's hand. Plus, he was brave, sincere, righteous.... All females in this book fell in love with him - a situation which I never believe because every woman sees handsomeness differently. The journey of Siau Ling's love life was told very well here. He was not romantic and in his struggles against Jen Bok-hong he didn't have time for romance.

There was a golden sword appeared near the end of the book, and Siau Ling was saved by an eagle in a scene. So it took me a while to find this book's title in English. The Indonesian titles - for 4 books - are far from that.

I wanted to write more, but if you are reading this, you perhaps should read the book yourself - if you haven't. It's nice to read books from different cultures. They always have different expressions, different terms. Like if you are bored while watching an American movie - why the dialogues are dull and repetitive? Try watching a movie from another country.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Black Butterfly (1968)

I had been watching a couple of Shaw Brothers movies made in 1967-1968 and when I watched this one, in the middle of it suddenly I saw how different this was from others. The others often showed close-ups and stayed on the actor's face for a while while he/she did his/her act. It disturbs me a lot when in a time of critical danger and a hero has to fight to death, and he will ask his friend or sibling or child to leave - to be able to avenge him in the future; and the friend/sibling/child doesn't go in that moment and spends several seconds to weep and cry 'I won't leave you' 'I'm not afraid to die'. This kind of drama is very annoying. I sort of hope that the characters live around a swordsman have a military discipline - that they should go as soon as they are told to.

The Black Butterfly was a masked character who robbed from the rich to help the poor. No one knew that the Black Butterfly was actually a young woman named Bao Zhu, the daughter of Gold Sword Kwan - a retired swordsman who now opened the Ten Mile Inn. Kwan had students and his first student, Hsi Lang, worked for Lord Fang in the Court of Censors. Kwan had refused to teach his own daughter martial arts, so she secretly learned from the Drunken Beggar.

Chiao Chiao as Bao Zhu
Five Devils Rock's third master took Lord Fang's stamp and asked Lord Fang to give 10,000 silver taels to make up the loss for the robbery done by the Black Butterfly in the beginning of the movie. With the help of the Drunken Beggar and Bao Zhu, Gold Sword Kwan and his students wiped out the Five Devils Rock.

The director, Lo Wei, used long shots and I enjoyed activities in the background. Like when Bao Zhu was arguing with Hsi Lang in Ten Mile Inn, a student of Kwan appeared in background and called his friend to enjoy the argument. Another example is when Hsi Lang agreed to have a duel with the man from Five Devils Rock, a student of Kwan happily fetched a sword for Hsi Lang and was laughing, as if he knew that he would enjoy an interesting spectacle soon. Again another example: when Gold Sword Kwan was about to go to Five Devils Rock to get the stamp back, Bao Zhu only said a sentence, hoping her father wouldn't go - but she knew that he had to go, so soon after she said what she had to say, she ran to her room crying - followed by her father's students who were trying to comfort her. This was done fast and we could see Gold Sword Kwan stood sadly on the inn's bridge, looking at his daughter's room (from a distance) while his students still comforting her.

The Thundering Sword (1967)

This movie was based on some parts in Chin Yung's The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre.

"The Thundering Sword can shatter world's other two precious swords. When the sword appears it could cause great disasters which would cease only when the earth cracks."

Yu Chien Wan (Chang Yi) and Chiang Kwun Yuan (Lo Lieh), two heroes from Baiyun Temple, were sent by their master to find the Thundering Sword. The master wanted to destroy the sword so the world would be peaceful.

Chen Pei-pei as So Jiau-jiau
Chiang found the sword in a tomb but he was wounded by So Jiau-jiau's poisonous dart from Wu Du Clan. Jiau-jiau regretted what she had done, but she was in a hurry to deliver the sword, so she asked Yue Security Escort to deliver the fainted Chiang back to Baiyun Temple, so his master could cure him. On the way, the escort guys  were attacked, and a a result, Chiang could not be cured and became a cripple.

Jiau-jiau killed 32 people in Yue Security Escort because they had failed the task, but because she disguised himself as a man, the only surviving victim pointed Yu Chien Wan as the culprit. Yu Chien Wan became a wanted man and when Jiau-jiau confessed, no one believed her.

Yu Chien Wan met So Jiau-jiau and they fell in love with each other. Jiau-jiau even gave him the Thundering Sword, although it was later seized by a skilled monk.

Things didn't go well for Yu Chien Wan and So Jiau-jiau. First because of the matter of Yue Security Escort and because Jiau-jiau had wounded Chiang. From this point the pace became slow and the story teary like soap operas.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Golden Knight (1970)

There were six main clans in the martial arts world and they formed an alliance and pointed a master to be their leader. The alliance was to find a solution if there were a problem between or among clans. The Golden Knights from Tongxin Clan sat as outsiders who gave their opinions, more like jurors.

There had been a Grand Master, the ruler for decades with this six excellent skills. When he was dying, he gave six manuals to the chiefs of six clans, each chief received one manual. Yu Yun-yang from Huangshan Clan arrived late. Later the grand master was found dead and Yu Yun-yang was missing.

There were two versions of stories of what happened that day. The chiefs from five clans testified that when they left the grand master's house, they met Yu Yun-yang on his way. They told him that the grand master had kept one manual for him. Then they heard Yu Yun-yang's shout, telling them to return to the grand master's house because the grand master had been murdered. They returned, but only found the grand master's dead body. The manual was missing, along with Yu Yun-yang.

The second version was told to Yu Fei-xia, Yu Yun-yang's daughter, by a woodcutter who claimed that he had seen the chiefs of five clans (in black clothes / disguise actually) attacking and killing Yu Yun-yang. But when Yu Fe-xia was confronted by one of the golden knights, she said she didn't know who the woodcutter was and couldn't find him again.

The trial of Yu Fei-xia
Then appeared a masked girl who attacked two clans and stole their manuals. The five clans believed that the masked girl was Yu Fei-xia because 1) she had declared she would kill all people in the five clans to take revenge for her father. 2) The masked girl used 'Poison Palm', a skill only used by the Yu family. However, the first missing manual contained 'Poison Palm'.

Lily Ho and Kao Yuen
I enjoyed watching this movie. The mystery was a nice touch, although I could guess who the bad guy was from the beginning. The story was well-written. The enemies had a skill to change their faces, so it was fun to see how the good guys solved the puzzle.

The Dream of The Red Chamber (1977)

There are several version movies of The Dream of The Red Chamber, but I chose this one because I was looking for a song. I was not sure from which version it was, but my cassette was from early 1980's. I did find the song in this version, although my song was an instrumental and the rhythm was faster.

This movie is one of the most beautiful movies ever made. The clothes and the furnitures were very nice. Some of the most beautiful actresses were in it: Lin Ching-hsia, Mi Hsueh, Sylvia Chang. Sylvia Chang looked very beautiful as Lin Dai Yu and I was very impressed, because in early 80's she usually played tomboy characters.

Lin Ching-hsia and Niu Niu played male characters. I don't know why some male characters should be played by females. There were male actors in this movie, like Yueh Hua and Tien Ching; but all singing voices were females'.

The movie's pace was slow, but I was mesmerized by what I saw that I watched it in one sitting. It was basically a Romeo - Juliet story, with a lot of tears.

After the deaths of her parents, Miss Lin Dai Yu came to Ning Kuo Mansion in Jinling City to live with her grandmother. Her grandmother was from the rich and powerful Jia family. There Lin Dai Yu met Jia Bao Yu, the only son of the Jia family. They played together and became best friends. Several years later, they fell in love with each other and couldn't live without one another, but as Lin Dai Yu was too thin and frail [Remember that Jia Bao Yu was the only son], on the wedding night the bride was switched. Jia Bao Yu wed Miss Bao and Lin Dai Yu died with a broken heart.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Proud Youth (1978)

Lately I started to notice an actor named Wang Yu (not Jimmy Wang Yu), who appeared in several Liu Chia-liang movies. The rumor said that when Jimmy Wang Yu left Shaw Brothers in 1970, the studio owner was so angry that he hired a look-alike and had him play a parody of the former star. I must say that at first I was mistaken, but now I can tell the difference between two actors. You can actually see the year of the making to see which Wang Yu it was. Their names in Chinese characters are also different.

(L) Jimmy Wang Yu vs (R) Not Jimmy Wang Yu
The younger Wang Yu usually played a naughty kid. If the movie was not dubbed, but was in Cantonese, he could be even more annoying (in a funny way). For a kung-fu actor, I think he was good in acting and in delivery of his lines.

So it was interesting to see he played in this movie. The Proud Youth was based on Chin Yung novel 'The Smiling Proud Wanderer'. Wang Yu usually played proud characters, so this part should be easy for him. I only hoped he could be given more dialogues so he could practiced his fast mouth.

Every two years, sword clans of the Five Mountains gathered on the top of Mount Taishan. They are: Huashan Clan, Taishan Clan, Hingshan Clan, Hengshan Clan, and Songshan Clan. The younger clan members learned from competitions, while the chiefs selected a leader of the alliance.

The head student of Huashan Clan, Nangong Song, saved a young nun from Hao Jie-ying, a rapist. Nangong Song suffered grave injuries from this fight because Hao Jie-ying was a more skilled fighter than him and Song only won because of his quick wit and fast mouth. While the nun treated his injuries, other nuns saw them and reported 'the inappropriate conduct' to their teacher, the abbess of Hingshan Clan.

Nangong Song vs Hao Jie-ying. 'Do you want to try my Toilet Sword Style?'
Shi Zhong-ying from Hengshan Clan befriended Gao Yun from the evil clan, Sun Clan, because they both liked music. Shi Zhong-ying played flute and Gao Yun played khim. They both composed a tune together, called 'The Last Sound of the Empty Valley'.

Leng Ruo-jun from Songshan Clan, the new leader of the alliance, found out about the friendship and commanded Shi Zhong-ying to kill his friend. Shi Zhong-ying refused, so Leng Ruo-jun had all his family members killed. Shi Zhong-ying was wounded, but Gao Yun saved him. Together they played 'The Last Sound of the Empty Valley' before their deaths. Nangong Song who was being treated by the young nun heard the melody and came towards. Gao Yun gave him the sheet music, told him to pass it to a talented musician.

Huashan Clan's chief Luo Chao-jun punished Nangong Song for his inappropriate behaviour with the nun. The young man must face the wall for a year at Huashan's Cliff of Remorse. On this cliff Nangong Song found a hidden cave and learned the unbeatable Chongyang Nine Swords Style.

Learning Chongyang Nine Sword Style in a hidden cave
One year passed and being free again, Nangong Song gave the music sheet to Bai Ying-ying from the Sun Clan. When they first met he couldn't see her face and thought that she was an old woman.

Sheet music
Bai Ying-ying was the Sacred Lady from Sun Clan and because Nangong Song had given her a gift, people from the evil clan came to Huashan Clan to give wine to Nangong Song. They also held a party at Wuba Mound. The Huashan Clan's chief was angry that he kicked out Nangong Song from Huashan Clan.

Nangong Song sees Ying-ying's reflection in a river
Then Nangong Song help a guardian from the Sun Clan to free the Sun Clan's former chief, also Ying-ying's father, who had been locked in a dungeon for twelve years by the recent chief, Sima Wuji.

Shih Szu plays Bai Ying-ying
Sima Wuji had learn 'Plum Blossom Classics' on fighting styles and was actually matchless. Guardian Shi, Chief Bai, Nangong Song and Ying-ying surrounded him but he was stronger than the four of them. Finally Ying-ying and Nangong Song could kill him. In the book, even the 4 of them could not handle the enemy. Only by threatening Sima Wuji's lover, Ying-ying could trick him. But in this movie version, the lover had been killed before the four met Sima Wuji.

Sima Wuji becomes half man half woman after learning Plum Blossom Classics
Hao Jie-ying, the rapist, was also a hired assassin. Someone had paid him to kill the leaders of the four clans and the wife of the Huashan Clan's leader. Easy to guess who had paid him, right? Because only one man left to lead the alliance. Also, if you are familiar with the story you already knew who the bad guy was.

The location of the final fight was at a waterfall, so it was nice to watch. The location where Nangong Song fought Hao Jie-ying was also beautiful.

The final fight. Nangong Song vs Luo Chao-jun
I like Wang Yu as Nangong Song [although I think he was better in Swift Sword (1980)]. He was not convincing in romantic scenes (which were very rare in this movie. In the book, Lenghou Tiong - the original name for Nangong Song, was in love with his teacher's daughter, but she loved someone else. In this movie, she liked him but he only saw her as a sister), though, and maybe that was why the last scene which portrayed Bai Ying-ying talked to him was dialogue-less and the Shaw Brothers logo appeared, a sign that it was the end of the movie.

The Jade Faced Assassin (1971)

Based on Khu Lung's novel The Remarkable Twins, this movie was quite enjoyable. I even prefer this one than the 1979 version with Fu Sheng and Lawrence Ng. Both movies are based on the same novel, but with limited time, it's interesting to see which material stayed and which were omitted.

At first I was a bit disappointed to see that Siao Hi-ji character was played by a female, but later I thought she was okay and played the part well. The character had a scar on her cheek, just like in the book.

Chang Chun ran from Chang Chuen Clan with his wife - the 3rd sister from the clan, and their new-born twins. On their way, they were stopped by robbers and finally killed by the 1st sister from Chang Chuen clan, who thought Chang Chun had stolen their creed. The 1st sister took one of the twins, and left the other for No.1 Swordsman Lian Lan-yan, the sworn-brother of Chang Chun.

When Lian Lan-yan arrived, one of the dying robbers told him that it was Chang Zhai who had betrayed Chang Chun. Lian Lan-yan went for Chang Zhai at the Happy Valley, but he was trapped by the criminals and became paralyzed. The baby was raised by the criminals. They named her Siao Lu-er. She was very naughty that they finally drove her out from Happy Valley.

Tse Hsin-chan (Pan Yin-tze) and Hua Yu-chun (Kao Yuen)
Siao Lu-er saved a girl from robbers who wanted her treasure map. The girl was Tse Hsin-chan, from Chang Chuen Clan. Siao Lu-er showed her later that the treasure map was a fake. Tse Hsin-chan had a martial brother, Hua Yu-chun. Hua Yu-chun first wanted to kill Siao Lu-er because he thought she had harmed his sister, and later was forced to kill her because his teacher said so.

Sweet glutinous rice. So heroes are human and love snacking like us.
But Siao Lu-er saved Tse Hsin-chan (again) when she was poisoned by Chang Ting-le. Chang Ting-le was most renowned hero and respected by many, but Siao Lu-er would prove that he was formerly known as Chang Zhai, the traitor.

Siao Lu-er befriended Yu Chi Zhao Guang the gambler. It was with his help that Siao Lu-er could saved a security bureau which had been robbed by Chang Ting-le. It was a funny scene when the security bureau owner visited Chang Ting-le to thank him for saving his carts before (he didn't know the master behind the robbery) and a moment later a man came to tell him that the carts had been robbed - again. While he was panicking, another messenger came to tell him that the carts had been returned.

Yu Chi Zhao Guang (Fan Mei-sheng) and Siao Lu-er (Lily Ho)
In the end, Siao Lu-er was about to have a duel with Hua Yu-chun, when the 2nd sister from Chang Chuen Clan stopped them and told them that they were siblings. Together they fought the cruel 1st sister and the good won, as always.

The actress who played Tse Hsin-chan was the weakest actress in this movie, in my opinion. Perhaps the camera stayed on her too long that she over-acted.

The title confused me. Who is the jade faced assassin? After giving this some thinking, I guess the assassin was Hua Yu-chun. Kao Yuen was good-looking enough (jade face = handsome) and Hua Yu-chun was sent by his teacher to kill Siao Lu-er. There was also the word 'yu' in his name (yu=jade).

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Shadow Boxing (1979)

What I like about this movie is that I learned something about corpse herding. It's explained in the beginning of the movie: "Transportation was not developed back then. If people died away from their home towns, they will be sent home by the corpse herders."

I had seen in Chinese movies - in backgrounds- a man led jumping zombies, and I paid little attention to it. Now I know that the man was transporting the dead bodies to their loved ones. He shouted: "The dead's on the road, the living stays away." to warn people to stay away or stay in their houses if the corpses were passing by.

Cecilia Wong and Wang Yue
In this movie itself, the location must be very remote, because seeing the hairstyles and clothes, this must be after the Ching dynasty and they should have had carts by then.

Liu Chia-liang played the corpse herder. Wang Yue played his apprentice. With a simple ceremony, they put mantra on the corpses so the corpses could walk (or hop) themselves. No need to carry them.

Corpse herder and his apprentice
On transporting the corpses this time, a fugitive sneaked in and pretended to be one of the corpses. In this way, he could pass through check points safely.

The herders rest, the corpse stay waiting
Like in other Liu Chia-liang movies, the fighting scenes were choreographed in unique styles. This time he took ideas from vampire moves. So far I am most impressed with the fighting styles in 'Return to the 36th Chamber' where Liu Chia-hui learnt how to fight by building bamboo scaffoldings.

The Gang Master (1982)

Loosely based on a part of Chin Yung's novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils - the story of Siau Hong, The Gang Master told the story of a young chief from Eagle Clan, played by Austin Wai.

Eagle Clan actively fought the Mongols, who was that the time occupied the land. When the story began, Fu Chung-yuan had just been chosen as the new chief of Eagle Clan by the late chief, his god-father. A woman in mourning clothes came, said that Fu Chung-yuan had killed her husband because her husband had knew a big secret: Fu Chung-yuan was a Mongol by birth. Fu Chung-yuan went away to find his parents, he wanted to ask them; but when he arrived, the parents had been murdered and again he was accused as the murderer.

He met a young girl who suffered a grave injury because of him and he went back to Eagle Clan, begged an elder to save her. The elder said that he would save the girl if she had not been brought by Fu Chung-yuan. But in the end he saved her anyway.

It ended more or less like in the book, that our hero couldn't choose which land and nation he had to defend.

I have seen the 1997 TVB version which told the story in no flashback and that made the mystery have no surprise. In this 1982 movie version, the mystery did work, and we wanted to know who had framed Fu Chung-yuan.

The Kid with a Tattoo (1980)

Wang Yue (not Jimmy Wang Yu), who played Li Pao-tung, the central character in this movie, in my opinion, was very good in playing comedy and kung-fu. I've seen him a couple of times in movies directed by Liu Chia-liang, one of my favourite fighting instructors, and I have always been impressed. He was very good in playing naughty and proud characters. At times, the way he delivered his lines seemed like he knew everything, dared to do anything and thought about the consequences later. He can be compared to several more popular young Hong Kong actors at that time like Jackie Chan and Yuen Piao.

Li Pao-tung was the son of Li Chang-jian, a cotton shop owner who had been in the business for 20 years. The father wanted the son to inherit his business, but Li Pao-tung's interest was only to learn martial-arts. He secretly learned kung-fu from a beggar. When the beggar was murdered, Li Pao-tung was there to witness it and he heard the murderer said that the man who had hired him was 'The Sword in the Cotton'. Who else 'The Sword in the Cotton' if not his father Li Chang-jian? - the only cotton businessman in town. Since then, he saw his father in a different light. For example, when his father took him to a expedition company to learn how to ship cotton, the son thought that his father were teaching him to learn the situation so he went back to rob the place at night.

Wang Yue piled up 3 benches on a table and climbed to the top...
...and jumped to the chandelier.
He had an eagle tattoo on his chest, which he proudly showed to his friends. But when his father discovered it, he showed him that it could be erased because it was not permanent. Father - son relationship here was well depicted by Sun Chung, the director.

If you hit me again, I'll become a monk and you'll have no grandsons.
The final fight between Wang Yue and Wang Lung-wei was enjoyable to watch. At first glance, Wang Lung-wei should have been able to win - if you calculate the strength, experience, skills; but with his naughty tricks, our hero won.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Look of Silence (2014)

In the first part of his documentary on the events after G30S/PKI in 1965, director Joshua Oppenheimer interviewed some of the men who did the killings. This movie is the second part of the documentary and the director put a relative of one of the murdered victims to interview the 'killers'.

I think the intention of making this documentary was to find out what really happened. What I learned at school (late 70's - early 90's) was how cruel the PKI had been (PKI = Indonesia Communist Party) and how the army under General Soeharto's leadership could sweep the movement quickly. From my aunt I heard the stories after the event, that so many people had died because 'communists' had had to be killed. She told me how her uncle had been taken to be tortured and killed. They lived in Solo at that time.

This documentary was about the massacre in Sungai Ular (Snake River), Deli Serdang, North Sumatra. A 44 year-old man named Adi was in search of what really had happened to his brother Ramli.

By sending a victim's brother to interview the doers, to ask them what had happened and then sort of accuse them, ask them questions like 'Do you regret what you have done?' and 'Have you realized that you were wrong?' - of course they became angry and stopped the interview. I prefer the director's approach in making The Act of Killing (the first part of the documentary), where he asked them politely to reveal what had happened and not accused them and blamed them, for this was a sensitive issue.

In the last part of this movie, Adi went to this family to interview them. The father of the family, who had passed away, told Joshua several years ago about how he led the massacre. He also had written a book about it - complete with illustrations, titled 'Embun Berdarah' and gave a copy to Joshua. His wife and sons claimed that they knew nothing about what their father did at that time and did not want to talk about it. What happened to Ramli was told in that book. There were so many victims, the number given was around 500-600 but the father of the family could gave a detailed account of what had happened to this particular victim.

Adi was born in 1968 so he never saw his brother. Perhaps he grew up listening his mother's stories about what had happened when Ramli had being taken away. We can see when he interviewed the doers how he was emotionally bitter.

There was a scene of a school-teacher taught his young pupils about the G30S/PKI history. Seeing the pictures of the president and vice-president hanging on the wall, this scene was recent. They were the pictures of SBY and Boediono (2009-2014).The teacher told the pupils how cruel the PKI was. They had kidnapped the army generals and cut their faces with razor and gouged their eyes out. When I was still at school, my history teachers never mentioned those gory details. The textbooks only also said that they had been tortured. I first learned the details of the tortures when I had to watch this G30S/PKI film made in 1984 by PPFN and later more horrible details in 1988 book 'Siapa Menabur Angin Akan Menuai Badai' (borrowed it from a neighbour). But then I heard that the tortures had never happened. The PKI shot the generals to death but never tortured them. So why this teacher still told the pupils that the army general had been tortured? Whichever was true, those pupils were elementary school kids and they should not be told gory details. Like a censorship for a movie, the teacher should know if the kids can handle such stories. It's useless to blur inappropriate images on TV if you tell sadistic stories to your pupils.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

That Man in Chang-An (1967)

Empress Lu sent out a secret imperial edict to behead King Dai, but the edict was seized by a masked man who delivered it to King Dai to warn him. The Empress had been killing Han officials and General Lu Kun had prepared troops for a mutiny. The masked man asked King Dai to warn the emperor in Chang-An, but Lu Kun had arrived to catch King Dai.

However, King Dai's sister and her maid had time to sneak out, but Lu Kun's troop was after them. They fell into a cliff and were helped by Zhuang Hai, a medician and alchemist, who hid them in a cave. The maid didn't trust him, so they went out and continued their journey and were caught by Lu Kun's men.

Zhuang Hai, the princess and the maid in the cave
The Huns, in their collaboration with Lu Kun, demanded some money to dispatch the troops. Lu Kun didn't have it and it was impossible to increase the tax because of the drought. So he invited Zhuang Hai the alchemist to make the gold. He didn't know that Zhuang Hai was the masked man he had been looking for. By staying in Lu Kun's house, Zhuang Hai could spy on him and check on the princess's safety. He finally stole the agreement between Lu Kun and the Hun and sent it to Chang-An, so Chen Ping* could lead a punitive expedition.

*My knowledge of Chinese history is not good, so I don't know who was Chen Ping and what was his role in the empire. I think this was not the same Chen Ping who lived in Liu Bang's era.

The masked man
Although this movie is quite old, I enjoyed watching it very much. The mask worn by the masked man covered his entire head, with two holes for the eyes, so it made sense if the princess etc couldn't recognize him, didn't know who he was.

The Brothers (1979)

Watching this movie was like a deja-vu. The story was familiar, yet I couldn't remember if I had watched this before. I wonder if there was a remake.

The story was very dramatic. Zhang family lived near the pier. The father was probably the head-village. A German boss wanted to buy the land on the shore. Zhang led the people to refuse the sale because the land was a heritage, but the buyer's men kidnapped Zhang's wife and two sons, so Zhang signed the deed. The villagers didn't know what had happened so they took Zhang as a traitor. They tattooed 'Traitor's son' words into Zhang's oldest son's arm.

The father died and the mother and sons moved from the village. The mother and the oldest son worked, so the youngest son could go into a school. Time passed. The youngest son went into a military school, while the oldest son still worked as a coolie in a pier. He refused to pay security money and beat the thugs. Their boss admired him and hired him to work for him. Later he became their leader.

Liu Yung as the oldest son
When the youngest son returned, he had to catch a notorious criminal: his own brother. [I am not sure why a military school's graduate worked in a criminal case - and not became a soldier and go to a war.]

Two brothers: one is a triad member and one a police - they have to confront each other, this theme is used again in 'A Better Tomorrow'. I like better Danny Lee's portrayal as the youngest son here than Lesley Cheung in 'A Better Tomorrow'. Here we could see the traces of his love to his brother and his gratitude for his sacrifice in the past. He didn't hate his triad brother. He wanted to put him to jail and hoped that he would change.

The mother here loved his two sons equally. She only agreed to leave the expensive house bought by his oldest son's illegal money because she thought that it was inappropriate. When the oldest son called her about his marriage, she received the call  and spoke like a mother who loved her son, regardless of what he had done.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Smiling, Proud Wanderer

First published in 1969, this novel by Chin Yung is very enjoyable to read. I read that some people said this book was Chin Yung's best work - and some other chose The Deer and the Cauldron. I have read both books and both are interesting in their own ways. The Deer and The Cauldron is more a historical fiction; I did have a great time reading that book. The time frame in The Smiling, Proud Wanderer is not clear, but it can be guessed that it's a couple hundred years after the events in  The Heavenly Sword and The Dragon Sabre.

One of the many things I like about this book, is how the author constructed a web of intrigue from the very beginning. The central character of this book is a young swordsman named Lenghou Tiong (or Linghu Chong in Mandarin), the first student of Gak Put-kun, the chief of Hoa-san-pay (pay=sect, san=mountain). From the title we can guess that he is a merry, proud young man who likes to travel.

The book begins with the story of Lim Peng-ci, a handsome young man and the only son of a security bureau owner. The Lim family is well-known for its invincible swordplay, pi-sia-kiam-hoat; but Lim Peng-ci and his father's skill themselves are not very good. So there should be a secret behind it. People from Jing-sia-pay attack the Lim family's security bureau, arrest Lim Peng-ci's parents and kill the employees. Lim Peng-ci runs away and is saved by Gak Put-kun, the chief of Hoa-san-pay, and becomes a student.

Then the readers are introduced to Lenghou Tiong from a story told by a young beautiful nun, who have been saved by Lenghou Tiong from a rapist. In his effort to save the nun, Lenghou Tiong is gravely wounded. We finally meet this heroic character when he is recuperating in a brothel.

Wounded Lenghuo Tiong then meets two dying characters who gives him a music book. The notes are of a song called 'The Smiling, Proud Wanderer', made for a duet for a khim and a flute. They ask him to give the music book to a talented person. Soon after he receives this task, he meets the dying parents of Lim Peng-ci. The dying father gives him a message for his son, probably how to find the most wanted manual swordplay.

But on saving the young nun, Lenghou Tiong have befriended the rapist and for Gak Put-kun, this is a big sin. Hoa-san-pay's people should not make friends with bad people. On their return to Hoa-san, Lenghou Tiong is punished. He is to go to a secluded area in Hoa-san to reflect in his sins for a couple of months. In here our hero meets an elder of Hoa-san-pay, who teaches him the invincible Tokko-kiu-kiam (=nine sword moves by a man named Tokko). In his life-time, Tokko always won in every fight.

Lenghou Tiong is an orphan. Gak Put-kun and his wife brought him up as their own son, so he loves them and respect them very much. He grew up with Gak Put-kun's only daughter, Gak Leng-sian. As Lenghou Tiong is Hoa-san-pay's first student, many people hope that one day he will replace Gak Put-kun as the chief. Lenghou Tiong also hopes to marry Gak Leng-sian someday.

But while Lenghou Tiong is punished on the secluded area, Gak Leng-sian becomes closer to the new student, Lim Peng-ci.

Lenghou Tiong's suffering does not end here. Because Lim Peng-ci's father gives his last message to him, Gak Put-kun accuses him of stealing the pi-sia-kiam manual. When they search him, they find the music book and think that it is the swordplay manual in codes. To prove that the book is a music book, they go to a khim player. In this occasion Lenghou Tiong meets Yim Ing-ing, the daughter of the tiau-yang-sin-kau's chief. Tiau-yang-sin-kau is considered an evil sect.

Although Yim Ing-ing is from an evil sect, when Lenghou Tiong first meets her, he doesn't know her identity and her face. He only knows that she plays khim beautifully and someone who can play music like that should not be a bad person. He trusts her completely and tell her all his secrets. He hopes he can play the duet song with her in the future, so Yim Ing-ing teaches him how to play khim.

Because Lenghou Tiong befriends people from the evil sect - plus the accusation of stealing the swordsplay manual - he is fired from Hoa-san-pay. Our broken hearted hero will try to be forgiven and taken back to Hoa-san-pay - until he realizes that it is all his teacher's evil scheme to rule to martial arts world. Meanwhile, he learns how much Yim Ing-ing loves him, that she doesn't hesitate to sacrifice herself for him. The young lady agrees to be confined in Shaolin Temple, and in return, the abbot teaches Lenghou Tiong a skill to cure his inner injury.

The character we meet in the beginning of the book, Lim Peng-ci, is like Lenghou Tiong at first. He is brave and not afraid to die in fight for justice. With his limited skill, Lim Peng-ci saves Gak Leng-sian from evil men, although he almost lose his life. As the story progresses, his lust for revenge is bigger than his love for Gak Leng-sian. He can have a happy ending with a loving wife, but he chooses to castrate himself a few days before his wedding because he cannot restrain himself from learning the pi-sia-kiam-hoat he has just found. He also becomes evil and kills his wife, but Lenghou Tiong has promised dying Gak Leng-sian that he will not kill Lim Peng-ci and take care of him all his life.

In this story, we learn that not all people from good sects are good and not all people from bad sects are bad. Greed can change a good person. Hoa-san-pay is destroyed, in the end, by greed of one man.

The two characters who gives Lenghou Tiong the music book, one is from the evil sect and one from one of the righteous sects. The people from the 'righteous sects' don't like this kind of friendship and force the man from the good sect to kill his friend. He refuses, of course. They have attracted to each other because of the sound of the music they play. They have learned that no one can guess one's heart, but the sound of music cannot be deceitful.

I watched the 1984 TVB version of this story, the one with Chow Yun-fat as Lenghou Tiong; but I remember I didn't like it very much. Considering I like this book very much, then the 1984 series must not be a good adaptation.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Magnificent Trio (1966)

Starring Wang Yu, Lo Lieh and Cheng Lei. This was the first time I saw Cheng Lei played the main role. Usually he only played supporting characters.

Wang Yu played Lu Fang, the grandson of a famous Ming general, who had broken the encirclement (at war front) and came to Mati village, where he saw a young woman was taken to a mill.

It was the Mati's head village who kidnapped the magistrate's daughter and kept her in the mill. The villagers wanted the magistrate to cut their provisions. The county magistrate forced them for provisions [although the imperial court had exempted their provision]. There was a war and the villagers had no food.

Minister Yuan would pass by in 2-3 days and the head village had written a petition, reporting the corruption of the magistrate. So the magistrate must have taken care of the matter before the minister arrived.

Instead of giving what the villagers had demanded, the magistrate hired  a killer and freed bandits from his jail so they could work for him.  Why the magistrate didn't simply give  the villagers what they demanded? They only wanted the magistrate not to take their food. They were poor and the food collected from them should not be much. Yet the magistrate chose to spend money from his treasury to hire the bandits. Furthermore, the outcome was unpredictable, even dangerous, because bandits were not reliable.

Master Yan and Huang Liang
The head village had a daughter and the magistrate's men took her to the mill, to exchange her with the magistrate's daughter. In this incident, the head village's daughter died, the magistrate's daughter was freed, and Lu Fang gave himself up to the magistrate's men in exchange for the life of the head village and his accomplices.

The head village's son is digging a grave for his sister
Looks like a coffin is buried here.
So where's the hole dug by the head village's son?
Huang Liang (Cheng Lei) - not sure what was his connection to Lu Fang, but he called Lu Fang his "young master" - broke into the magistrate's house to free Lu Fang from jail. The magistrate's daughter sent her maid to help Huang Liang because Huang Liang didn't know the location of the jail. Huang Liang said to the maid: "They are coming, I'll stop them. You go to rescue Mr. Lu." I failed to understand why Huang sent the maid to jail with this task. It can be guessed that the maid died in her errand.

Huang Liang said to the maid,
"They are coming. I'll stop them. You go to rescue Mr. Lu."
Lo Lieh played Mr. Yan, the magistrate's bodyguard who actually hated doing dirty works. Yan also helped Lu Fang to escape. Lu Fang escaped and went back to the mill. Why he didn't went somewhere else? - so the magistrate's men couldn't find him.

Lu Fang finds out that the wine has been poisoned
The movie ended well, with the good won against the bad.

Huang Liang finds the petition in a stream.
The head village must have used a permanent ink.
However, Yan's lover died, Lu Fang and the magistrate's  daughter didn't become a couple (they loved each other but she betrayed her father in order to help Lu Fang. I guess she felt guilty for being unfilial and therefore couldn't take Lu Fang as her husband), and Huang Liang died and broke a woman's heart.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What Price Honesty? (1981)

Pai Piao, Danny Lee and Sun Chien played three friends who just graduated from a police academy. They became constables in a little town, where the whole regiment was corrupted.

Like freshly graduated police, they held ideal principles, trying to be honest and just; but of course they could not fight against the whole regiment. Other constables hated them - including their boss, the magistrate and the prison guards' chief; on the other hand, the civilians hated them as well - because they had seen how the constables used to squeeze them for money. In the civilians' eyes, honest constables impossibly existed.

L-R : Danny Lee, Pai Piao, Sun Chien
One day they were called to help their fellows - who were surrounding a big bandit (Lo Lieh) in a ruined temple. Danny Lee died in this incident, because their boss refused to help them. The three gambled with their life to free a hostage, but although Danny Lee died, even the ex-hostage didn't think much about the sacrifice. They did catch the bandit, but the magistrate and the constables' chief received bribes and sentenced him to three months only.

Pai Piao was so bitter with the whole thing that after that he punished severely the criminals he caught before sending them to jail (i.e.beating them). His colleagues were also angry because the bribe money they received became less and less. The constables' chief  held Sun Chien's family and coerced him to frame Pai Piao. Pai Piao was sent to jail.

Then came the news that an imperial envoy would visit the little town. Pai Piao's wife visited her husband in jail and told him her plan to plead the case to the envoy. Sadly the conversation was overheard and the corrupted officers killed Pai Piao's wife. This did not end here, the magistrate and the constables' chief killed the prisoners, in order to remove any proof that could be used against them in front of the imperial envoy.

But Pai Piao broke out of jail and held the magistrate as a hostage. But when the imperial envoy came, was he as honest as they had expected?

This movie ended tragically. It's a sad story where the good perishes with the bad, because they were outnumbered.

Monday, February 15, 2016

My Young Auntie (1981)

To prevent his 3rd brother from snatching his assets, dying old Yu married his servant's daughter. After his death, she was to go to Guang-zhou and give the will and deed to his eldest brother's fourth child, Yu Jing Chuen. The greedy 3rd brother and his godson would try to get the deed back.

My Young Auntie is an interesting film. Jing Dai Nan (played by Kara Hui), the 2nd wife of the 2nd uncle - the servant's daughter - was about at the same age at Yu Jing Chuen's son. So although by age she belonged to the next generation of old Yu's nephews, but by marriage, her status was higher than them: she was their elder.  Old Yu's nephews had to bow to her, although they were old enough to be her father and uncles. And they did it dutifully and seriously because it was tradition.

Family Tree

Compare that with the behaviour of the younger generation: Yu Jing Chuen's son, Yu Tao. He had been studying in Hong Kong and  spoke English quite often. His attitude to his 'grand aunt' was not as respectful as his father's. Yu Tao had been influenced by western culture.

war costume : chinese style vs western style

Friday, February 12, 2016

Five Fingers of Death (1972)

Tien Feng played Meng, the head of  Pak Sing kung-fu school, who used every means to win the championship in a kung-fu tournament; including hiring Japanese killers to eliminate his rivals.

Lo Lieh played Chao Chih-hao, a loyal and honest student of Mr Sung. Sung realized that Chih-hao was too talented to be his student, so he sent him to a better teacher: Mr Suen. Mr Suen would later taught Chih-hao the iron palm.

Chih-hao trying to break a piece of wood
Chao Chih-hao and Mr Sung's daughter were in love, but Mr Sung forbade them to marry until Chih-hao had won the championship.

Sung Ying-ying (Wang Ping) and Lo Lieh (Chao Chih-hao)
Knowing that Chih-hao was his strongest rival, Meng sent his thugs to ambush our hero. They crushed his hands, but -I actually find it hard to believe- Chih-hao could recuperate in time to win the championship.

In late 70's - early 80's, every time I watched kung-fu movies Lo Lieh always played bad guys. Recently I found out that in late 60's movies he was actually often cast as good guys as well. In Five Fingers of Death, Lo Lieh played the good guy and I must say I like his performance here. Lately I watched quite a number of kung-fu movies and I must say that Lo Lieh was one of the best actors Shaw Brothers ever had. It was a surprise to know he had been born in Pematangsiantar, North Sumatra, and spent his childhood there - before migrating to Hongkong in the 50's.

Both his palms turn red
For the English title, I think 'Palm of Death' is more appropriate than 'Five Fingers of Death'. My first impression after reading the title was the character in the movie would use five fingers, like a claw - or perhaps finger by finger like Yi-yang finger technique from Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. But when I was watching it, to use the skill (the iron palm), Chih-hao's palm - the whole palm and not only fingers - would turn red - and the sound of alarm would appear. The original title itself is 'The World's Number One Fist", so the other English title "King Boxer" is better.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Full Moon Scimitar (1979)

scim·i·tar : a short sword with a curved blade that broadens toward the point, used originally in Eastern countries.

Based on a book by Khu Lung, the story is about the ambition of  men. The main character, Ting Peng, was a young hero who wanted to be famous in martial arts world. With his 'shooting star' sword technique - inherited from his late father, he defeated famous swordsmen one by one.

The next on his list was Liu Jo-sung. Ting Peng wouldn't have guessed that his opponent would use a dirty trick on him. Liu sent his wife to lure Ting Peng to her bedroom, to steal the manual of the shooting star. Of course in the duel Liu could defeated Ting Peng and even more, he accused our young hero of stealing the shooting star technique from him.

Embarrassed and hopeless, Ting Peng wanted to commit suicide, but met a beautiful lady, Ching Ching, who lived underground with her grandparents. She claimed that she was a fox woman, but Ting Peng didn't mind and married her. Ching Ching had a scimitar and she taught Ting Peng how to use it. Ting Peng now had gained his confidence back and wanted revenge.

*Listening to the Spring Rain in a small attic at night* inscription on the scimitar

Ting Peng (Erl Tung-shen) and Ching Ching (Liza Wang)
With the scimitar, Ching Ching's help and her grandfather's treasure, Ting Peng had Liu Jo-sung under his feet; but he was too arrogant to kill him and kept him as a student. He turned down Ching Ching's request to return underground, to live together peacefully there.

Dead rats in a pot of rice. A psychological war.
The parts about how Ting Peng gets revenge on Liu are very good.
He went further to challenge the Third Master, the number one swordsman; and married again to the daughter of the most wealthy man to gain more power in martial arts world. However, things didn't go as he had planned, for his student Liu Jo-sung wanted to harm him. This movie had a happy ending anyway: the good guys lived and the bad guys died.

Ting Peng forces his way to meet the Third Master
This movie had a nice theme song by Joseph Koo, sung by Roman Tam and Liza Wang. TVB also released a tv-series version in the same year, starring by Damian Lau and Angie Chiu.

The moon knows my heart's desire
The scimitar would join two loving hearts
Tears drop as the wind laments
Success draws lovers apart
Love will soon be forgotten; the wife abandoned!