Synopsis by Robert Firsching
Even prior to becoming a recognizable name with such superior entertainments as A Chinese Ghost Story, visionary filmmaker Ching Siu-tung directed this spectacularly effects-laden action-fantasy. Along with the same year's Zu: Warriors From the Magic Mountain, the techniques employed here paved the way for the extravagant spectacles which soon came to dominate Hong Kong cinema. The plot concerns a martial arts contest between China and Japan which was held once every ten years during the Ming dynasty. Set in the days leading up to one such contest, the Chinese fighter Bo Ching-wen (Damian Lau) and a Japanese contestant, Lord Hashimoto (Norman Tsui), discover that their nations have conspired to fix the contest. It seems that a local martial arts master who believes that his daughter should be China's official contestant has conspired with a villain posing as a monk to kidnap the top fighters in the competition. The fake monk commands a team of skilled ninjas who commit the abductions -- in one memorable scene swooping down on their victim on silent kites -- and it is up to Bo and Hashimoto to set matters right. The plot itself, however, is merely a backdrop for an array of thrilling fight scenes and entertaining special-effects set pieces which are all the more impressive for being among the first of their kind in Hong Kong cinema. Flora Cheung and Eddy Ko co-star.
deception, martial-arts, Ninja, treachery