Posted on July 29th, 2009 in Brick Prior, Movies, SHAW-A-DAY-A-THON by Brick Prior

Sing it with me now:

MY DING-A-LING!

MY DING-A-LING!

I WANT YOU TO PLAY WITH MY DING-A-LING!

I am referring to a set of bells, by the way.  What the hell are YOU thinking about?

Shut up, hippie.  On with the show!

THE TRAILER

Sorry, no trailer.  It’ll be another retroactive one once I get a chance.

THE OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

“When his family is attacked by three vicious bandits who abduct his younger sister, courageous Wei embarks a relentless search while honing his fighting skills to deadly perfection. With the help of a beautiful young companion, he infiltrates the band of criminals and risks his life in a sword-slashing, hard-hitting collision that will leave more than a few broken bones in its wake. Stylish, fast-paced and packed with eye-opening stunts, The Bells of Death has vintage Shaw Brothers thrills from start to finish!”

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

Now this movie is what the papers would call a “roaring rampage of revenge”, because there is some SRRRRIOUS revenging going on in this one.  It all starts when a group of bandits ask a young dude climbing in a tree where the nearest village is.  He tells them, and for his effort, one of them tosses arrows at him out of spite.  The bandits flee and spy a pretty girl at the river, follow her back to her house, bust into said house on the countryside and kill everyone one at a time because they want her that badly- the father gets nearly sliced in half (bisected, even!), the mother takes an arrow to the head while trying to flee, the younger brother gets AXED~! while he’s hiding under the floorboards, and they kidnap the girl from the river, who is the older sister.

Harsh, ain’t it?

Well, the bandits missed one.

Wei, the kid in the tree, returns moments after the bandits leave only to find his mother freshly SKULL ARROWED~! out in the field.  He takes the only memento he can: a bracelet covered with small bells, and heads out after the bandits… but they’ve gotten away.  Wei searches and searches until he comes across a swordsman; begging and pleading, he asks for the swordsman to train him so he can get some revenge.

I know you thought I was finished with this, but…

Smash!

Cut!

To!

Years!

Later!

There is a swordsman wearing a bracelet covered with small bells around his neck walking towards a small town.  He stops suddenly, as he sees a severed foot  laying just outside the tall grass.  He seems to recognize the cut of the blade and heads off to town with a purpose.

Ladies and gentlemen, Wei is all “growns” up.

In town, there’s a girl fleeing as bandits chase her.  They’ve already killed her dad, and are after her because she’s been sold to them.  She is, as they say, about to “ho it up” for them.  Crying, she runs into Wei, and he tells her not to worry and to move aside.  Wei then summons all his energy, and makes the GODDAMNED LEAVES STICK TO THE BANDITS’ FACES.  When they peel the leaves off, skin rips off too.

Holy shit, dat boy good!

The bandits flee and complain to their boss, who asks Brother Yang if he’s heard of such a swordsman- shock beyond all shocks, Brother Yang is the axe-wielding bastard that helped kill Wei’s family… this is gonna end badly for him, that’s for sure.

Yang and company go after Wei and the girl, with Wei taking them out effortlessly.  Yang and Wei faceoff, and Wei pretty much overpowers him, sending Yang off into the forest to flee.  Wei pulls out some Batman-fu, and taunts Yang from the darkness, saying that he has a blood debt to pay.  Yang’s spooked, and Wei gets all the info out of him that he needs- where the other bandits are, and each specific one that killed each specific member of his family.  Yang finally spots his foe, and chops down stalk after stalk of bamboo, but it’s of no use, and he eventually gets killed by falling chest first onto some bamboo spears that he inadvertently made.

Ooops.

Wei heads off to the next town to face the man that killed his father, and is followed by Xiangxiang, the girl he saved.  One of the bandits goes off to tell Second Uncle, the sword swinging murderer, that Wei is coming, but said uncle figures Wei followed the dude there, so he kills him.

And that’s when the bells start to taunt him like a telltale heart, jangling and jangling until he’s almost driven mad.  He takes a walk, looking for his pursuer, and eventually he finds Wei on a darkened street.  They decide that regular swordplay is too easy, and come to a simple game- keep the end of a lit candle at the end of your sword, and the first person to let the candle fall to the ground or let the flame go out shall be killed by the other fighter.

EPIC.

With candles on both ends of their swords, the two clash and clash and clash, and eventually Wei is the winner as Second Uncle is pretty much bisected like Wei’s father was years ago.

Only one left now!

Wei and Xiangxiang head to the town where his sister is; unfortunately That Bastard That Killed Wei’s Mother (or “That Bastard” for short) has amassed quite a bit of power, and can send everyone after Wei once he shows up.  He does so, which leads Wei’s sister to plead for That Bastard not to kill Wei.

This, of course, turns into EVERYONE VERSUS WEI in the middle of the town square, complete with That Bastard trying to get a bead on Wei with his arrows.  Wei’s sister tries to stop That Bastard, but she gets ARROWED~!, which sends Wei into a goddamned frenzy.  Xiangxiang even goes after That Bastard, but gets held hostage, as he tells Wei to stop or else he’ll kill her.

Wei goes off the goddamned deep end, grabbing his mother’s bracelet and shaking it furiously, asking That Bastard if he remembers it.  He says he does; Wei says that it was his mother’s, and That Bastard must pay with his life.  The previously ARROWED~! older sister is practically summoned back from death’s door because of the ringing bells, and goes right after That Bastard, who shakes her off, causing Wei to take the fight to him.  That Bastard is pretty much overmatched as he loses his sword, and Wei mercilessly throws arrows at him in a complete role reversal.  Finally, That Bastard tries to climb a wall, but Wei throws an arrow right through his heart, killing him.

With his family avenged, Wei and Xiangxiang head back to his home to start a new life… and goddamn if he didn’t kill a whole bunch of people to get to that point.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS FILM

Wow. 

Aside from the shit with the leaves of doom, this one was eight hundred and sixty-six percent serious.  I just loved the harshness of the opening sequence, and how fucking around with one young dude in a tree came back to bite all of the bandits in the ass.  Not to mention the fact that Wei is completely vicious after his training- very “Man With No Name-esque”, if you catch my drift.  The cinematography in this one is beautiful too, and a complete compliment to the action choreography in all of the main fights- there’s a shot of the rain coming down during the “candles” fight that’s just gorgeous.

Picture time!

ARROWED~!

vlcsnap-752954

THAT’S YOUR ASS, MISTER AXE-MAN

vlcsnap-757844   

SHOWDOWN IN AN ALLEY

vlcsnap-761892

I WASN’T LYING ABOUT THE CANDLES AND THE SWORDS AND WHATNOT

vlcsnap-765811

WARNING: PISSED OFF MAN SEEKING REVENGE

vlcsnap-766952

 

TOMORROW

Work and sinuses and everything in between have destroyed my sense of time!  So, just like the title of our next movie, “Come Drink With Me”!