A few adjectives jump out as descriptives for this film. Patchy, grim and cruel. Not a great deal happens for the first 45 minutes or so, apart from frequent beatings of the convicts by the guards, and earnest pleas from the doctor for them to stop causing trouble. As the other reviewer says, the story really gets going when John Liu starts kicking. But even then, the story falls into a few dead spots, and only the last quarter is solid and entertaining fu fighting.
Reviewer Score: 5
There's not a lot of humour to be had, except for occasional light relief by Ngai Ping Ngo. It's mostly punishment, suffering and complaints. This made most of the film hard to watch. The cruel treatment, which often did not involve kung fu, was something to be fast-forwarded through.
The fight scenes in the second half are uniformly excellent, and are sufficient reason to grit one's teeth through the cruelty.