The Romance of Book and Sword (1987)

Run Time - 180 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong  |  
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This semi-historical Hong Kong action film tells the folk legend of two Han Chinese brothers. One is raised as a Manchu and becomes the emperor, while the other, Chen, is the leader of the secretive Red Flower Society, an underground rebel organization. The character of Chen and the Red Flower Society were featured heavily in the film Once Upon a Time in China II. Loyalties are tested when the rebel leader attempts to persuade his brother to restore the Han empire. Although this visually rich film has much of the action seen in Hong Kong period films, Ann Hui's distinct directorial style is a serious artistic departure from the flashy special effects and acrobatic fight sequences often associated with the historical kung-fu genre.