The Invincible Yuanyang Swords (Review)
The Invincible Yuanyang Swords
aka 無敵鴛鴦劍 aka The Matchless Pair Swords
Written by Fung Kam-pui
Directed by Mok Hong-See
It’s time for an old school Cantonese wuxia flick, and there are only two reasons to watch: The choreographed swordplay and the low budget effects. And the swordplay is brought, but the low budget effects are what brings The Invincible Yuanyang Swords to our attention. Particularly one low budget effect. Godzilla. Yes, Godzilla. Okay, he’s not really Godzilla, he just looks suspiciously like a dimestore Godzilla, complete with stolen audio of the Godzilla roar! Yes, a dragon the main character fights is pretty much Godzilla. Also there’s some complicated plot involving treasure map pieces and an evil gang that the hero thwarts, but MAN IN SUIT MONSTER!!!
Director Mok Hong-See directed 160 films in his long career, most of which are so old they probably don’t exist any more. His career is largely done by the end of the 1960s, but he is notable for helming many of Connie Chan’s Lady Bond films (which exist, we just can’t ever see them!!!) Hong Kong Film Archive also notes this is child star Lee Tsi-yeung’s screen debut. I can’t find out any more information about the kid actor, but I guess he’s important enough and will probably show up in other old wuxia films I watch. Maybe he won’t even be a brat in them!
The film’s choice to portray the dragon as a Godzilla-looking creature instead of a traditional Chinese dragon is an interesting one. It shows the popularity of Godzilla films in 1963 (who would have been fresh off his third feature, 1962’s King Kong vs. Godzilla) and how the iconic imagery can even creep into places that were filled with people who still harbored much hatred towards Japan over what they did during the war.
There are several different old Cantonese wuxia flicks with dragons and other giant monsters, the problem is there is so little information about these films in English, finding one is just luck. I know there is one other one I saw clips from (though I don’t know the name) with a different dragon monster. We’ve also found ape costumes are surprisingly common, so there are probably other cool fantasy things running around just waiting for me to write a long rambling review about! Luckily, I have a stack of vcds with a few looking very promising. I hope this costume was used again and again.
The action begins in classic wuxia fashion, with a kid throwing rocks at some guy. Okay, the kid is the son of Yau Hei-sing and To Fei-yin (I can’t find the kid’s name anywhere), and they come to the rescue of their little angel when the guy he’s throwing rocks at stops by to beat some kid butt. The guy runs off, but leaves behind a trunk, which the Yau family opens up to find nothing inside. Nothing except part of a hidden treasure map that the kid takes while no one else notices.
The goon works for local evil guy Diu Lung, and he goes to get some of Diu Lung’s goons, known as the Three Monsters. They stop by the Yau house to demand the trunk back. They get it after a sword battle that involves throwing a poison dart into the Yau kid’s shoulder.
A master thief named King of Thief Wong Ng steals a bag of gold from the Three Monsters due to Wong Ng’s magic bag of gold levitating powers. I think he’s supposed to be a Monkey King type lovable rogue, especially with how he bugs a straightlaced guy and his wife right after. He can also teleport and is shown running at sped up speed like he escaped from a Benny Hill sketch. Thief Wong Ng can also instantly disguise himself by hiding behind a rock for a second.
Thief Wong Ng then talks his way into the Yau house and starts snooping around, the Yaus catch him but decide to let him go. Thief Wong Ng then slips the cure for their son into Yau’s pocket as he goes.
Thief Wong Ng then goes to check in on Cheung Tai-fu, a charitable man with the third piece of the treasure map. Thief Wong Ng hears enough evidence to know Cheung Tai-fu is on the level and Thief Wong Ng gives him back the piece of the map that he stole when he was snooping around his place.
Cheung visits Yau’s family and convinces them to help Cheung Tai-fu get the remaining piece of the map. They leave, but are ambushed by two of the Three Monsters. Their battle is just a diversion to lead Yau Hei-sing and To Fei-yin into a valley where they can be attacked by a dragon!
Yau then wanders onto a log bridge, which breaks and unleashes the dragon. A dragon that looks like….a certain Japanese fire breathing monster!!!! Godzilla!!!!
He has Godzilla’s roar!!! He breathes fire! He stomps! He’s only like 8 feet tall.
Is this one of Godzilla’s bastard children? Dang it, Big G, keep it in your pants!!!
Fauxzilla comes over to fight them! They must attack the dragon with swords, but Godzilla is too strong for them at first.
Strategy being to just jump on Godzilla and grab his neck, causing Godzilla to freak out and fall down on his back
but that doesn’t work, either. Looks like all hope is lost…
Then some old guy warps in, and he has a jar that he opens and a hailstorm and gas comes out. That’s too much for poor Big G, and he dies.
Poor Godzilla, killed by hail gas. =(
The old guy is To Fei-yin’s old sifu. He tells them to pull out the pair of THE INVINCIBLE YUANYANG SWORDS from Godzilla’s head. Godzilla’s head is a sword storage device??????? No wonder he was so angry, he probably had an awful headache from having two giant freaking swords shoved into his head!!
Is this like how you become King of England by yanking a sword out of a stone or being given a sword via a lady in a lake?
Since Godzilla is dead and never shows up again, who cares what happens next, let’s go home!
Okay, fine, I’ll continue… But don’t blame me when this part gets confusing, because a bunch of minor characters show up before the film reaches the final act.
Thief Wong Ng assembles the two pieces of the map they have and translates it for Yau, To, and Cheung.
Yau is sneaking around a house at night, but is confronted by a veiled woman that he fights and defeats with a wind punch attack. He regrets hurting her when he finds out she’s his ex-girlfriend Yuen, and begins to do some kung fu healing. The battle was watched by another woman (Siu-lan, Yuen’s student and also Diu Lung’s mistress! She’s played by Tinny Ng Sau-Fong) who is amused by the whole debacle. She goes to get To to show her Yau healing the injured woman, making To think Yau is having an affair. Maybe this was a real excuse guys used back then, I don’t know. “Hey, baby, I was just kung fu healing her. Naked. With my junk.” I can see it…
After some masked shenanigans and ambushing, things work themselves out until To’s master’s master takes away all of Yau’s kung fu! You see where you need a flow chart to keep up with all of this? Without the kung fu power of Yau, the heroes are at a disadvantage, but they attack the Three Monsters anyway. It turns into a big fight, with Yau constantly getting horribly injured because he has no kung fu defense.
Luckily, Yau’s punched so hard he lands under a tree that has magic fairy fruit in it, fruit so ripe it is dripping out juice that lands in his mouth and gives him energy. Yau comes back and beats up Diu and everyone else! This is surely an advertisement for the juice industry. Don’t believe their lies! I drank some juice and tried to beat up a kung fu gang, and I only barely defeated them all.
To and Thief Wong Ng break into the room the map is stored, it is guarded by a skeleton on the wall that has blinking light eyes. And shoots arrows out of somewhere. It also shoots sparklers. This is a goofy trap, and you can buy it at the seasonal Spirit Halloween Store! Oddly enough, random arrows and sparklers are not a good defense…and the map piece is taken!
The baddies then try to argue they deserve the map because they have Yau’s son and mom hostage! But the two are easily freed in the least threatening hostage taking crisis I’ve ever seen in a kung fu flick. The Three Monsters run away, and now our heroes can use the treasure money to help the poor! Hurray for everyone! Especially me for continuing to watch after Godzilla died. Poor Godzilla.
Rated 6/10 (The cure, check out that mouth!, African tribal masks?, The dripping fruit of power, lion time, this is how X marks the spot looks!)
Please give feedback below!