aka 武林龍虎鬥 aka Wu Lin Long Hu Dou 1970 Written by Tin Goh
Directed by Kim Lung
Can you believe there is a Polly Shang Kuan film where her parent is killed and she has to seek revenge? I know, right? That only happens in like 99% of the films she did, and it happens here! Revenge will be gotten, and of the bravest sort, at least that’s what the title claims! We all know who Polly Shang Kuan is, so no need to do a deep dive into her, but if you want to know more we covered her in an Infernal Brains podcast and she has an active tag on TarsTarkas.NET with plenty of wonderful films! Tien Peng is his usual heroic self as Sword King Tsai Ying-che, and Yee Yuen hams it up as the glorious villain like he usually does in films such as The Flying Swordgirl
Director Kim Lung (aka Chien Lung) helmed Taiwanese flicks in the 60s and 70s, many featuring revenge themes and many featured female protagonists. Among his films are these cool-sounding ones from 1966 – The Lady Spy, The Flying Killer, and Queen of Female Spies Jin Gang. He also directed 1967’s Dragon Inn, not to be confused with the classic King Hu 1967 Dragon Gate Inn. Most of his filmography is either unavailable or known only to those who collect Taiwanese kung fu movies, and Bravest Revenge might be his best known film now. Bravest Revenge is actually pretty good for a standard murder revenge kung fu movie, because it has huge fight sequences. There are multiple scenes of characters carving their way through dozens of people like butter in giant choreographed fights, they are fantastic! The last 30 minutes is an almost non-stop battle through themed stages of a giant fortress as the heroes slice through goons and are only occasionally slowed by the various mini-bosses. If this came out today this would be accused of imitating a video game, but it is from 1970 and all we had for video games then was things like Spacewar!, so maybe it is more accurate to say all video games stole from Bravest Revenge! Continue reading →
aka 鐵燕 aka Tie Yan aka Shaolin Iron Eagle 1978 Story by Chu Yu
Directed by Cheung Pooi-Shing (as Chang Pay-Cherng)
Revenge is a dish best served cold. That’s what some Klingon guy told me, anyway. Iron Swallow is basically a kung fu version of I Know What You Did Last Summer, except it’s a decade later and the children of the slain are the ones having revenge. Revenge is the topic of discussion, because it’s the topic everyone is talking about.
The elders did a horrible crime they refuse to talk about to anyone or even each other. It quickly becomes obvious that it involves rape, murder, and bribes to cover up their deeds. Many of them spent years worrying about the crimes, some throwing themselves into philanthropy out of guilt. None of the characters will call the authorities when attacked, because they don’t want to drag up their sordid histories. This leaves their younger relatives confused and frustrated, knowing something bad is happening and seeing their parents unwilling to do anything about it.
The revenge plot is so much the sole focus that there isn’t some of the usual kung fu tropes. No one seeks out a great master, there is no training montage. There isn’t a gallant knight hanging out in disguise to set things right. It is just pure revenge. The purity of the focus of Iron Swallow is welcome, sometimes films try to do too much and end up accomplishing nothing, while Iron Swallow does what it is supposed to do and does it well.
The problem with all these lovely dubbed kung fu features is it is impossible to get anyone’s name correct, so please excuse me if the character names I use don’t sound exactly like the ones you hear when you watch the film. There is rarely consensus on just how the characters’ names are said by the dubbers, changing depending on who is speaking or what accent the ex-pat in Hong Kong/Taiwan who is doing the part has. Occasionally, the dubbers pronounce the same name differently in two concurrent sentences. Thus, all references to Chia Ling’s character will just be Iron Swallow.
Iron Swallow (Chia Ling) – Iron Swallow is the daughter of a murdered man, out to avenge his death by maiming those responsible for his death and the subsequent coverup. She arrives in town with her Aunt, who is also a victim of the incident that started everything. Iron Swallow has focused her entire life on getting revenge. She leaves trademark iron swallow darts with red tassels, which the enemy later uses to frame her. Iron Swallow’s actual name might be Chin Yeh.
Ko Fang (Ting Wa-Chung) – A kung fu student being raised by his single father, who is marked as a target by Iron Swallow. Ko Fang soon learns that all he thought was true was a lie, and that he’s more involved in the revenge drama than he knows. He is best friends with Tu Lung, who is like a brother to him.
Tu Lung (Don Wong Tao) – Son of Chu Hsaio Tien and best friend of Ko Fang. Tu Lung is the idyllic youth who soon learns that things weren’t as clear cut as he thought they would be when he was learning about the world. He’s soon dragged into the confrontations due to familiar and friendly connections, torn between the two sides and his reluctance to join in the violence.
Wu (Wong Wing-Sang) – A Fortune Teller who is really a skilled kung fu assassin hired by Mr. Chu to kill everyone connected to the case before it comes back on him.
Chu Hsiao Tien (Yee Yuen) – Kung Fu Master and local bigwig responsible for a horrible crime and the resulting cover up, which dooms everyone a decade later when it comes time for revenge. Even then, he refuses to take responsibility and tries to kill his way out of it.
Mo Tu Ping (Hung Kin-Wing) – A Mystery Man who keeps popping up to aid Iron Swallow for reasons unknown. It is eventually revealed his father was Mo Shing Yee, Iron Swallow’s father’s best friend, and died alongside him in the original incident. Now the son continues his family’s legacy.
1969 Directed by Lu Chun and Hu Peng
Written by Yang Tao
It’s a jungle girl action flick with a kid jungle girl and kung fu revenge with Flying Swordsgirl! Yes, this Tarzeena of the forest is just a jungle girl teaching her young sister how to jungle girl when a kung fu movie plot washes ashore and pulls them into the picture! Soon, revenge is revenging, secrets are revealing, jungle girls are murdering bad dudes, and monkeys are trapping people in nets. This rumble in the jungle is no bungle, but is quite entertaining. So let’s jump right in, warm up your kazoos, it’s Flying Swordsgirl time!
Presented in First Scope!! Whatever the frak that is! Thanks to this being old and Taiwan not taking care of their films, the print is all scratched up (like it was stored in an actual jungle or something…) and the colors washed out. The film goes by several titles as versions kept getting released with new names for extra money from suckers value. Heck, even this copy of the print has an alternate name (The Flying Killer!)
Chin Feng Yao (Ting Ying) – It’s our jungle girl Why does she live in the jungle? They never bother to tell us. She just does, alright? Deal with it. And she’s also a kung fu master, because all jungle girls are. Ting Ying also starred in Tigress Is Coming (which also starred Ng Siu-Wai), The International Secret Agents, and The Young Avengeress. This was near the end of her acting career, after which she disappeared from my ability to look up information about her.
Hsiao Wei (Ng Siu-Wai) – The younger jungle girl who also lives in the jungle for reasons unknown. Spends much of the film learning how to be a jungle girl. Ng Siu-Wai also appeared in Silver Maid
Grandpa (Ma Chi) – Old hermit who also lives in the jungle, but he at least has a reason! Was run off from his home estate when his wife decided that she wanted to date other people. Actor Ma Chi also appeared in these awesomely titled films: The Seisure Soul Sword of a Blind Devil, Bow Kung’s Jurisdiction in the Hades, and Drunk Fish, Drunk Frog, Drunk Crab
Ku Tien Pen of the Feng Yun Manor (Pai Yu) – Ku Tien Pen is found half-drowned by the jungle girls, who nurse him back to health and get involved in his home manor drama, which has been invaded by a criminal gang.
Lo Ta Lung (Yee Yuen) – The main bad guy who invades Feng Yun Manor looking for treasure that doesn’t really exist, but causes a whole bunch of trouble for the jungle girls! Yee Yuen often played a villain in his long film career in movies such as The Bravest Revenge, 18 Bronzemen, and The Silver Spear
Wen Fu (Tien Yeh) – Son of Lo Ta Lung who has a secret past even he doesn’t know about. Until the secret is revealed and the world changes. Spends much of the film either captured or being defeated by monkeys and jungle girls. Tien Yeh is also in The One Armed Boxer, Revenge of the Iron Fist Maiden, and Jade Dagger Ninja
Chin Chin (A monkey) – A monkey who works for the jungle girls, and springs all sorts of tricks and traps on the bad guys, even though the actor monkey doesn’t really do anything.