Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Summary: They dont make movies like this anymore
Its a simple plot but a effective one.
Reviewer Score: 8
Bandits over run a small villiage and 5 people stand up against them.
I guess its another take on the "seven samuri" and though the action is nothing exciting to watch, The music and the mood create by the movie make it great viewing. The 5 heroes themselves are all reluctant heroes but they feel they have no other choice. EAch have different personalities and drives. I guess people can only take so much.
IF your expecting great kung fu scenes, this is not the movie for you, if you want a moving movie with tension and desperation, this is just perfect for that!!
Reviewed by: cal42
Summary: Bloody brilliant!
A small townships sleepy and peaceful existence is brought to a brutal end when a gang of bandits happen to stop there after raiding a major bank. Their prize - a large safe - is brought in with the idea that someone can open it for them and burn off the seal from the gold bars held within. The bandits terrorise the town with ruthless efficiency, raping and killing with wonton abandon until their wish can be fulfilled. Against this, a few men band together to save the town from a devastating fate: a failed kung fu practitioner (Ti Lung), a woodcutter (Chen Kuan-Tai), a blacksmith (Danny Lee) and a kung fu acrobat from out of town who is recuperating from illness in the towns inn (Wang Chung). Theres also a petty thief with an elusive past (David Chiang), who seems to have made a home in the township stealing chickens and generally making a minor nuisance of himself. But hes a coward and cant be much use to them - unless the secret hes hiding proves to be the key to the townships survival...
Reviewer Score: 9
Its said that the inspiration to the SAVAGE 5 lies with Akira Kurosawas SEVEN SAMURAI (which is no bad thing), but this also has a lot of similarities with the Spaghetti Westerns of the early 70s. In fact, the style of the score of this film is slightly reminiscent of the genre, and wouldnt have been out of place in one of Sergio Leones classics.
The pace of the film is excellent, and is tense and exciting throughout with just one predictable twist along the way. I just love the characters and what they bring to the film, but particular mention must go to Wang Chungs kung fu acrobat. When we meet him, hes ill (probably with the flu) and being chucked out of the towns inn by the bandits (who want the place to themselves). He misunderstands the situation and thinks the innkeeper wants him out because hes ill. The resulting dialogue between him and the innkeeper really helps the viewer bond and sympathise with the townsfolks fate.
No-one lets the side down in this film, and I truly believe theres no more exciting experience in Hong Kong cinema during the early 70s than to see Chen Kuan-Tai going completely apeshit on a bunch of bad guys with some sharp piece of hardware. And guess what? He doesnt disappoint!
In amongst all of this you also have some great heroics. For this, youve got Ti Lung and Danny Lee, who serve as the films underdogs who are willing (if need be) to sacrifice themselves for the town. And then theres the wildcard Mr David Chiang who appears to be a no-good thief from out of town who is content to steal chickens and trick the farmers with a winning smile and a few conciliatory words.
Theres your Five from the title, and you have to wonder what the bad guys were thinking, going against such a crowd. My only gripe with this is that the townsfolk are rather robotic and unemotional (they tend to gang together and dont really exhibit human behaviour at times). Everything else is just sheer class, from the script to the performances. The action scenes kick in after about the half hour mark this is mainly a story-driven film up to this point. After that, they are plentiful and damn good for their day (as usual, Lau Kar-Leung is one of Chang Chehs choreographers).
But its simply the few-against-many angle that really satisfies. The good guys are very good, that bad guys are VERY VERY bad, and you are left with no doubt as to who you want to win this clash.