Reviewed by: STSH
Summary: Should've been better
With a star-studded cast like this, under the direction of the even-then-experienced Wu Ma, one expects a lot from this film.
Reviewer Score: 4
And, if you're a mad Ti Lung fan, you wouldn't be disappointed. This is a Ti Lung vehicle, par excellence.
But there are a few problems. Many old fu films suffer from the "stop-motion syndrome", where actors pose after each stroke of a fight. Most of these films gradually warm up and out of this thoroughly annoying convention by about their half-way mark. This film does warm up, but even after an hour, does not fully get out of the stop-motion method. And you really notice it when you're watching terrific fu talent like this !
For a patriotic actioner, this film is surprisingly talky. A bit of a waste when there are no subtitles ! Lots of time is spent hovering around Ti Lung doing not a lot, except considering his next move.
Nor is the pacing particularly good. And, when Ti is not on screen, the action jumps around all over the place, between at least 6 other characters. Poor old (actually rather young !) Danny Lee suffers most from this. All he does is to run around and look concerned a lot.
Overall, this film is far from a total loss. There's enough action to get by, and seeing so many great actors together is a pleasure, whatever the content. But it could have been a lot better.