Posted on July 1st, 2009 in Brick Prior, Movies, SHAW-A-DAY-A-THON by Brick Prior

Before we begin this month, a note:  it’s fun to do stuff like this on purpose.  Not only do I get to wade through a fraction of my DVD collection, but I also get to report my findings to the masses.  How cool is that?!  It’s so cool, I went into your room and read your diary in order to find out how cool you thought it was. How do we kick things off this time?  With a two hour epic, of course.  Oh boy!


“No screen team was more triumphant in the Golden Age of kung-fu cinema than the iron triangle of director Chang Cheh and his protégés David Chiang and Ti Lung. This is their quintessential historical epic, set during the waning years of the Tang Dynasty.

It’s literally brother against brother as David Chiang and Ti Lung display their remarkable martial arts prowess battling insiders and outsiders in a duel to the death for the fate of China.“



Goddamn, this is one hell of a movie. 

In a way, it’s fitting that we kick things off with an epic, because I think this is a Shaw Brothers production at it’s finest- big cast, lots of thinly veiled historical based action, and uncompromising choices as far as the narrative and the film’s endgame is concerned. “The Heroic Ones” is the chronicle of a Mongolian warlord and his thirteen adopted sons, who also are his generals. Brothers Nine and Thirteen are his favorites, which makes a couple of the other sons jealous… kinda like a bad Christmas morning where Johnny and Dylan got a racecar each and his other brothers got a couple of fridge boxes with wheels drawn on the side.

…where the fuck did that come from? I don’t even know and it’s the first day! OH LORDY LORD, MY BRAIN DONE FAILED ME ALREADY.

Anyway, The Mongolian Warlord is busy trying to figure out how to crush his enemies, and decides to rouse the Thirteenth Brother from being a drunken jackass so he can fight Meng, aka… BOLO. That’s right, Bolo “GAH!” Yeung is in this film, and he’s busy kicking the shit out of a rather large army when we first see him.  This is going to be an awesome month, by the way. 

Where was I?  It’s too early for me to lose focus… zzz.  Okay, here we go!

One particular mouthy officer (who is against this particular invasion and whatnot) figures that Number 13 can’t fight for shit due to him sleeping with his spear, so 13 promptly introduces him to his fist to shut him up.  They squabble, but decide to make a bet- if 13 can whip the monkey piss out of BOLO by twelve o’clock, then 13 gets the official’s pimping jade belt.  I freely admit that said bet might not have been exactly that, but you get they idea.  Anyway, 13 grabs himself a piece of rope, jumps off the tower he was on, uses all his “flippy shit” as The Texan would say, and proceeds to break Bolo’s neck with said rope.

Bye Bolo.

13 drags Bolo back to camp, and goes to take his prize.  The official is like “Nuh nuhuhuh this is my belt!” and 13 is like, “Man, gimme that belt!” so they “compromise” and 13 takes half.  Your Man The Official is all pissed because he lost half off a “good ass” jade belt, and he proceeds to seeth his balding ass off.

His head is balding.  Not his ass.  His hairline starts in the middle of his neck.

The Mongolian warlord (he with all the badass children/generals) decides that he’s ready to take over Changan, so the 13 Generals head into town in DISGUISE.  They fucked up a shack-turned-restaurant and complain about the lack of meat because they want beef to eat, goddamnit.  They right right into the main “fortress thingie” like bats out of hell, and this is where the movie is at its’ best: you’ve got thirteen badasses against eight hundred and fifty-two people, and they’re all real human beings.  This was the seventies- NO CGI HERE!

Fun stuff.

Nightime hits, and The Brothers slice and dice their way into the citadel… thingie.  See how this works?  I don’t know shit about cities and camps and whatnot because I don’t have my “Old Ass Cities And Camps Guide”.  IF THEY MADE A BOOK ABOUT IT, THEN I COULD READ IT AND KNOW WHAT THE FUCK I’M TALKING ABOUT.


The Brothers start getting chased by guards (still about eight hundred of them) and figure it’s time to take out The Man In Charge.  Thirteen has a plan, and it involves scaling a tall wall, cutting down about fifty people, and firing an arrow DIRECTLY through the leader’s head- and here is where Brothers Four and Eleven start screwing shit up.  Tired of #13 taking all of the glory, they start a failed diversion, and Changan’s leader has his crown take an arrow instead of taking it through his forehead.  The Brothers hightail it to a residential area, and find refuge in a Pretty Young Thing’s house.  It’s just her and her blind grandfather, so Four and Eleven do what comes naturally: they try to rape her.


Thirteen ain’t having any of that nonsense, and he whips the monkey piss out of both of them for being stupid.  They run off, and end up saving face because Thirteen won’t say that they tried to forcefully GET DEM KNEES UP with the girl.  But, UH OH DAD’S MAD and yells at them for being stupid, and gets ready to killify them with the quickness, but Thirteen comes to the rescue again saying that one of the stupid fuckers had the original plan to take over Changan, so maybe they aren’t that fucking stupid.  He offers to get them prostitutes, but they both decline.

That last part with the prostitutes didn’t happen, but it would have been funny if it did.


The warlord decides to invade again, and this time The Brothers and their army of HUNDREDS decide to burn that motherfucker down.  In the aftermath, Thirteen goes to see if the Pretty Young Thing survived, but her place got burned down too.  No future for her, no booty for him.  Fair trade!

With Changan theirs, The Brothers become just a tad complacent, and That Fucking Officer with half the jade belt is jealous, which puts him in CAHOOTS~! with the 4th and 11th brothers.  What’s the big plan?  Get their dad and #9 (the other favorite son) completely fucking wasted and kill them.

Wouldn’t you know it, it almost works.

They send hundreds and hundreds of men, ninjas, bears, spider people, rats, fire demons… okay, it’s hundreds and hundreds of men, but you get the idea.  They set the main house on fire and #9 fights them all off with two loyal guards and a wicked hangover.  The shit goes on for fifteen minutes, until #9 has his guts ripped open by knives and dies protecting his father.


Thirteen shows up to save the day, and Ol’ Dad realizes that #4 and #11 were the ones that caused all this shit to happen, so he gets mind-rippingly drunk by cutting open a wineskin half the size of his body and downing the contents.  Hardcore dad he is.  Thirteen goes off on his own, and #4 and #11 figure out that he’s the source of all their pain, because goddamnit if he was never adopted then they would be the favorites, yadda yadda yadda, so they plan to kill him.  They take dad’s sword away, and lure Thirteen out to a different camp.  Saying that he must obey them due to them having Dad’s sword, they tie him up.  Thirteen gets wise quickly concerning the trap, but they stop him by cutting the tendons in his arms and ankles, and then, in the most amazing scene in the movie, they draw and quarter him.


Dad wakes up from his stupor and figures out what happened, so the remaining brothers go after #4 and #11, the latter two having no backup whatsoever.  A battle begins, and two of the remaining good brothers fall due to some cowardice backstabbing bullshit by #4, but he gets his from the eldest brother.

Eleventh Brother is like, “Man, BOOLSHEET!” and tries to take on everyone else, flipping in the air and landing gut first into IMPALEMENT.  With two swords in his belly, he attempts to run his eldest brother through… and gets nothing but tree. He dies, and our surviving eldest brother laments on the Thirteen Generals, as we cut to the end credits and a horse riding montage from the beginning, which were obviously happier times for our crew.


This is a kung-fu version of the “Young Guns” franchise if Dermot Mulroney and Christian Slater managed to get Chavez and Billy killed out of jealousy, those fuckers.  Seriously, the two main characters die horribly.  It’s fucking crazy.  Awesome movie, awesome cast, awesomely awesome.

And now, a picture.




Seriously, that was his death pose.  FUCKING EPIC.


The Stack says… “Cave of the Silken Web”.  Awww shit, this is gonna involve spiders!