Posted on July 12th, 2009 in Brick Prior, Movies, SHAW-A-DAY-A-THON by Brick Prior

Aaaaand, this one tops the Magic Blade.  Hot damn.

THE TRAILER

THE OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS (obtained from hkflix.com)

“An epic tale of vengeance, betrayal, and ambition against the backdrop of ninja martial skills and arts. When his school is destroyed and his colleagues all slaughtered by supreme ninja Cheng Yun and his five element ninjas, Tsiau Chin Hau sets out to take his revenge. But stopping the elemental ninjas (gold, wood, water, fire, and earth) is an awesome task. So, Chin studies the secrets of the ninja under the guidance of teacher Yan Yong Fe. Thus armed, Chin and his newfound cohorts Li Yin Win, Chan Sin, and Wan Fong challenge the element ninjas in a climactic battle to the death. Once again, Chang Cheh displays his unique talents for marshalling aggression, violence, and balletic grace within an inventive format.”

THIS IS WHAT I THOUGHT HAPPENED SINCE I HAD TO READ SUBTITLES AND WATCH ACTION AT THE SAME TIME, HAR HAR HAR

For all its’ violence, this is quite the beautiful movie.

Recapping it is simple- two factions have a simple contest where the winner ends up becoming the leading school- however, this particular year, a group of ninjas is having none of that, so within the first thirty minutes, pretty much all the good guys are slaughtered save for one.  He learns the arts, and heads back into the fray with his new brothers… but this movie is one slow build to some absolutely awesome carnage.

It starts off easily- two schools are having an annual battle- one fighter versus another, and the loser must commit hara-kiri/seppuku/beef it/shuffle off the mortal coil to save face.  Our Good Guys, clad in white suffer a loss or two but convincingly win against the rival school… which just happen to be made up of a bunch of ninjas.

And this is where the movie goes nuts.

We see the various school brethren head out to tackle various ninja facets (ninjas that embody various elements- wood, water, fire, earth, and wind), and they all get slaughtered.  They’re not prepared- the highlight of this extended sequence is the guy fighting all the Earth ninjas.  They repeatedly stab him in the crotch and gut until his own entrails start flopping to the ground.

And the kicker?

He steps on his own guts and keeps on fighting.

How do you top that?

Seriously, how do you top that?  Not only is the viewer being sold on the fact that, “Hey, these assholes are tough!” but the fact that they aren’t gonna stop for the mere fact that they lost a few coils of internal sausage makes this a bad ass movie.

Anyway!

The remaining students hole up in their sanctuary until the evil ninjas attack- it’s left up to one of the last fighters to try and save their master, and he goes out in a blaze of glory.  We’re talking about five to seven minutes of nothing but action until the poor guy gets impaled onto a burning door as his master dies inside.  It’s crazy stuff to watch, but it’s also par for the course that is SHAW-A-DAY-A-THON.  Hau survives, and falls in with some folks that can actually get him up to speed as far as techniques and whatnot.  He’s just about on par with the skill of the ninjas, and he has new brothers to back him up in this final battle.

Our New Heroes head out, completely running through everyone- if you’re flying through the air, then they have a net.  If you rely on fire, then they will use some fans to diffuse that shit.  If you’re hiding underground, well then… SPIKED STILTS, ASSHOLE.

Once the master is lured out of his hiding spot, the film becomes a frantic four-on-one battle, as said master has spiked feet and pretty much rules all.  It’s up to Hau to save the day, and he does, handcuffing himself to the ninja master and taking a chest-full of spikes as a result.  His brothers stab said master as he tries to retreat, and Hau does the one thing that makes sense.

He rips the dude in half.

Yes, you read that correctly.

As the ninja master is getting stabbed in his chest, Hau pulls on his legs until he separates his waist from his torso.

Hardcore shit indeed.

As Hau slips away, he points at the big slab of rock with the katakana for “Earth” written on it.  He’s content with going out this way.

His brothers, in a sign of defiance for all the shit they’ve gone through, promptly smash the shit out of the large stone as the movie ends.

Yeah.

Classic.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS MOVIE

This is Chang Cheh’s final movie for the Shaw Brothers Studio, and it feels like it.  It pulls out all of the stops- for fuck’s sake, it has a man fighting until his last breath even after he steps on his own entrails.  This is one hell of a movie, something that can’t be duplicated.  There’s a buildup here, a sense of foreboding that can’t be denied… and once the final action beat hits, it all makes sense.  Hau completely sacrifices himself because it, for all intents and purposes, it “seemed like a good idea at the time”.  His new brothers suddenly destroy the Earth marker of the last group they faced, and that’s what we freeze on. 

That’s the end.

Were the brothers and Chang Cheh leaving their final mark on the world as they knew it?

Yeah, I think so.

The action in this is unparalleled- the big fight between Lo Meng and the ninja school is fucking amazing- stances, weapons, and fighting styles are switched on the fly, which makes it all very fun to watch.

All in all, this is good stuff.

And with that said… picture time.

IF YOU SCREW UP IN A FIGHT, DO NOT DO THIS!

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YES, YOU ARE STEPPING ON A COIL OF YOUR LARGE INTENSTINE

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I DON’T WANT TO SEE FEET LIKE THIS

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THIS SIGNAGE IS PISSING US OFF

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TOMORROW

The One Armed Swordsman!