小五義大破銅網陣
The Magnificent Five (1968)


Reviewed by: dleedlee
Date: 06/18/2004

The storyline is a little unclear to me but it’s basically a you killed my uncle and we’re coming back for revenge story.

Five young men are determined to seek revenge for the death at the hands of Ruler Shang.. His palace is protected by the ominous Copper Net Snare and the chief guard, Lai Ying (Shek Kin), oversees it. Along the way, the five pick up a female swordsman (Suet Nei), her maid (Wong Oi Ming) and an inn keeper’s daughter(Law Lan). The innkeeper, by the way, seems to have a practice of drugging her patrons and robbing them. (I wonder if the story isn’t a variation on one of the tales from the Water Margins?)

The palace itself is filled with a wonderment of gadgets. Besides the aforementioned Snare, the palace is full of hidden doors, revolving walls, traps that shoot darts, arrows and smoke, and underground tunnels. The designer of the lair is Lai Ying’s uncle (Lok Kung). At one point after he is captured by our heroes they try to get him to reveal the secrets of his invention. One of them, Ai Fu (Kenneth Tsang), hangs himself in shame for failing to extract the secret. What follows is a very odd but delicious scene: It takes place in the underworld which is populated by guards with animal heads and there are dead people. All manner of pain and suffering is going on including a man being dipped in a giant boiling wok! Pang Ch’i, the uncle, is dragged before the King of Hades and told to repent and be good before both he and Ai Fu are sent back to the living world.

The grand finale is a real battle royale running almost 15 minutes long as the now group of eight storm the palace and lay waste to Ruler Shang and his henchmen.

The five heroes are played by Paul Chu Kong, Cheung Ying Tsoi, Kenneth Tsang Kong, Tam Bing Man and Paul Chun Pui (who I didn’t recognize at all hidden behind his white eyebrows). The story, as I said, is a bit muddled and the characters are very undistinguishable other than Cheung Ying Tsoi’s is a real brash hothead and Kenneth Tsang’s seems to be the noble one. Chu Kong barely registers as does Paul Chun. Very possibly the version I watched is edited and some explanatory scenes are missing. Still, I can partially recommend this film. It’s a shame that the vcd is of the zoom boxed variety, i.e., the picture is cropped from its original aspect ratio and the subtitles are cut off on the sides.

Reviewer Score: 6