The Fate of Lee Khan (Review)

The Fate of Lee Khan

aka 迎春閣之風波 aka Ying Chun Ge Zhi Fengbo
The Fate of Lee Khan
Written by King Hu and Wong Chung
Directed by King Hu

The Fate of Lee Khan
King Hu’s works are amazing, and he is one of the most influential artists in martial arts film history. That being said, The Fate of Lee Khan was made after Dragon Gate Inn and A Touch of Zen, and the biggest flaw is it just doesn’t live up to those classics. It is a good story, full of intrigue and great choreography. But it just feels smaller scale and lacks some of the smaller character moments that a smaller story should have. Lee Khan just doesn’t seem as dangerous as he should be considering he is supposed to be this big ultimate villain. The best way to describe him would be as the mediocre villain of the second film in a super hero series who bridges the gap before the more memorable villain in the third film.

The word is The Fate of Lee Khan was one of two productions of King Hu’s under his company, Gam Chuen (the other was The Valiant Ones). The films were to be distributed by Golden Harvest, who would gain the rights to Lee Khan while Hu would own The Valiant Ones. As usual, Hu’s films fell behind in filming, Lee Khan was barely finished by 1973, while The Valiant Ones wasn’t completed until 1975, and Gam Chuen then petered out.
The Fate of Lee Khan
It is a time when the Mongols have overstayed their welcome and General Zhu leads an army to fight them, spies are rife and everyone is paranoid. Lee Khan is a local overseer of two provinces and prince of the royal family, with his sister Lee Wan-Er as his loyal assistant. He found a member of General Zhu’s army to sell out and leaves to personally receive a map of battle plans. But this leads to opportunity and intrigue at a local inn, as these matters often do…

Madam Wan Ren-Mi (Li Li-Hua) – Runs the Ying Chun Inn, where Lee Khan is rumored to be staying at when meeting with a traitor that works for rebels. Is friends with benefits of the local governor Magistrate Ha Ra-Ku (Wu Jia-Xiang). Hires the waitresses who are all members of the rebellion, as is she.
Lee Khan (Tien Feng) – Leaves the safety of his palace to personally receive a map of the battle plans of the rebel general (the spy would only deliver to him personally) The map is legit but it is also an opportunity to attack Lee Khan out of the safety of his palace and numerous guards Tien Feng excelled at authoritative villainous roles in the 50s-80s, appearing in films such as Black Falcon, One-Armed Swordsman, Vengeance of a Snowgirl, King Boxer, Fist of Fury, By the 90s he had reduced his screen appearances, though still managed to appear in Green Snake and Sex and Zen.
Lee Wan-Er (Hsu Feng) – The sister of Lee Khan. Deadly villainess in her own right, including much more of a violent streak of wanting others to die for their crimes than Lee Khan. She seems to be the only person he cares about besides himself.
Black Peony (Angela Mao Ying) – Waitress dressed in black clothes. A former infamous pickpocket, Black Peony has mended her ways (sort of) by helping the Chinese resistance to the Mongol rule, and becomes a waitress at the Ying Chun Inn. I think she’s the only waitress whose character gets a name spoken on screen. Had her character been born rich, she’d probably be robbing from her rich friends and distributing it to the poor while wearing a super hero mask. For more Angela Mao films TarsTarkas.NET has covered, click on her tag.
Blue Waitress (Helen Ma Hoi-Lun) – A former bandit whose past makes her a poor choice as a waitress, but a good choice for someone you need in a fight. For more Helen Ma films TarsTarkas.NET has covered, click on her tag.
Red Waitress (Woo Gam) – A former street performer who now works for the rebels, she is adept with dealing with customers who have naughty hands than the other girls. For more Woo Gam films TarsTarkas.NET has covered, click on her tag.
Green Waitress (Seung-Goon Yin-Ngai) – The fourth waitress, she’s given the least amount of characterization except her character is hinted to be a con artist.
Wang Chun (Pai Ying) – A rebel sent to help, pretends to be Madam Wan’s cousin helping look over the books. Pai Ying was also in Dragon Gate Inn, A Touch of Zen, and Lady Whirlwind
Sha Yuan-San (Han Ying-Chieh) – Wandering singer and annoying rebel sent to help pretends to be Wang Chun’s assistant. Another King Hu regular who was in Come Drink with Me, Dragon Gate Inn, A Touch of Zen, and the non-King Hu film Sword of Emei.
Tsao Yu-Kun (Roy Chiao Hung) – High-ranking bodyguard to Lee Khan but also plotting against him. Roy Chiao had a prolific career including The Dark Heroine Muk Lan-Fa, Enter the Dragon, and Bloodsport.

The Fate of Lee Khan
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Gold Button (Review)

Gold Button

aka 金鈕扣

Directed by Cheung Wai-Gwong
Gold Button
As the female-focused action films that later became collectively called Jane Bond films evolved, other studios quickly jumped into the action to capitalize on the Black Rose/Connie Chan mania. Besides the already reviews Dark Heroine Trilogy, another entry is Gold Button. Gold Button features mysterious star So Ching and shows off some of the James Bond spy influences that helped shape a good number of the Jane Bond films. We have such wonderful things as doomsday weapons, an all-powerful secret gang, female agents, gunfights, punching, gangs of girls in swimsuits, dozens of nameless henchmen, a masked boss of the evil gang, spy gadgets, a film named after a flower/characters named after a flower, and stolen theme music (including the James Bond theme!)
Gold Button

Things get a bit more sleazy than the female-audience targeted Connie and Josephine flicks. Fanny Fan is naked in the back, while female characters are forced to disrobe and threatened with rape, and we see undies tossed on the floor. But even the sleaze is held back, the women wear one-piece swimsuits instead of bikinis! I am not sure if Mingxing Film Company is imitating 1966’s Golden Buddha with the extra sexiness, or if these films began production before Golden Buddha and it is ramping up things for another reason. Gwan Jing-Leung did the stunt work, and Wong To produced.
Gold Button

So Ching displays not nearly as much charm as Connie Chan and Josephine Siao in her appearances in front of the camera, probably due to her not growing up while making movies like those two. But she does have that beauty contest winner appeal and serious tone (contrasted by Fanny Fan playing the sexpot here!) After making several Jane Bond type films and a few other pictures, So Ching seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth. So Ching, if you have ever returned to Earth, please let us know!
Gold Button

Fanny Fan Lai started acting in 1957 after winning that often entry point into Hong Kong cinema, a beauty contest. Acting under the name Wan Li-Hong in Shaw’s Cantonese division, she failed to achieve much success until she joined Shaw Brothers’s Mandarin division as Fanny Fan, and became a star with 1959’s The Pink Murder. She became known as a sexpot and bad girl, probably best for her role in The Golden Buddha. Her nickname was the Oriental Brigitte Bardot. She retired from film in 1969.

As you can probably guess from the craptacular images included in this review, Gold Button is not available on in any sort of format you can find acceptable. I scored this from a Hong Kong tv broadcast someone uploaded to a Chinese YouTube site, complete with the station’s squashed picture due to the widescreen not being anamorphic. The uploader took it upon himself to blur out the station logo, so the top right of the screencaps look like someone smeared vasoline all over them. There is also a small segment of the film missing, and the very small compression on YouKu means if I blew the images up any larger than I have, they’ll just look like a bunch of blurry squares. As there is little information on Gold Button out there, it is currently unknown of the three other films So Ching made that feature many of the same cast are also part of this series or their own thing. TarsTarkas.NET will let you know the second someone uploads squashed tv recordings of the film for us to gawk at and write lame jokes.
Gold Button

Miss Peony Pai No. 1 (So Ching) – Her full name mentioned in the subtitles is Miss Peony Pai No. 1. As there are other Pai No.s and other Miss Pais, I guess her real name is Peony? The character is as mysterious as anything else. Her character is engaged to Chief Lin and calls Miss Pai No. 2 her sister, though probably in a sisterhood sense and not blood sisters.
Miss Pai No. 2 (Fanny Fan Lai) – The sexpot member of the Pai crew who is kidnapped and replaced by a prototype from Mistress of 1000 Faces. Because her sexy double was sexy and sinful, Miss Pai No. 2’s character doesn’t live to the end of the film.
Chief Lin Wen-Tsu (Wu Fung) – The Interpol Chief ho just can’t seem to catch those rascally Devils Gang members. Luckily, he’s engaged to one of the hot spy babes his unit outsources, which is totally not a conflict of interest that should be investigated by higherups at Interpol. Actor Bowie Wu Fung was a leading man for decades in Cantonese film, and has popped up in Lady Black Cat and The Red Wolf
Yim Lam (Seung-Goon Yuk) – Interpol doesn’t outsource all their female talent, and officer Yim Lam is competent and confident enough to save the day and catch Interpol traitors.
Assistant Chief (Roy Chiao Hung) – I’m sure this guy is an honest cop and is in no way evil… Roy Chaio Hung also shows up in The Dark Heroine Muk Lan-Fa
Devils Gang Boss (It is a mystery…) – The villainous boss of the Devils Gang, who doesn’t get a cool name. He does get a cool costume, which looks like they stole it from a local high school band, gave him a cape and eyeless ski mask.
No. 2 (Fung Ngai) – Fung Ngai shows up again in a film as a villain’s henchman, like he did in Spy With My Face. He does get to lead for once in Lady in Black Cracks the Gates of Hell

Gold Button
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