The Anonymous Heroes (1971)

Release Date - Jul 24, 1971 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Despite decent levels of color and excitement, this is one of the lesser team-ups for director Chang Cheh and stars David Chiang and Ti Lung. The biggest problem with The Anonymous Heroes is its script: despite a workable premise, Ni Kuang's storyline relies too heavily on contrivance (the contrivances usually revolve around the heroes being hopelessly naïve or the villains being total bumblers). The characterizations are too thin: even heroes Chiang and Lung get to do little except smile a lot and get into kung-fu fights. Cheh gives his usual energetic direction to the action scenes but his pacing wavers in spots and it seems the film's large-scale requirements overwhelmed his abilities: for instance, the train sequence involves some badly matched effects shots that look really amateurish by modern standards. That said, fans of martial arts films might want to hang in there for the action: legends Tong Gaai and Lau Kar Leung serves as choreographers on this film and they dish out several well-crafted fight scenes, including an intense, all-stops-out finale. In short, The Anonymous Heroes is probably a bit too dated and ramshackle for modern audiences but serious fans of the director and stars will want to check it out for the action highlights.