Heroes of Sung (1971)
Reviewed by: bmwracer on 2006-08-17
Summary: Three Heroes
The wuxia film "Heroes of Sung" (1973) tells the story of three loyal martial arts students Hong-Erh (Shih Szu), Tian-Hu (Lo Lieh), and Tian-Long (Chang Pei-Shan) who are entrusted with two royal seals and their attempt to deliver them to China's emperor. An enemy faction, led by Wanyan He (Chan Chun), attempts to sabotage this delivery and steal the royal seals, altering China's political structure for their own evil needs.

The film has some interesting (and peculiar) weapons and techniques, notably Tian-Hu and Tian-Long's "joint hands" technique which involves the two fighting as one with unique interlocking steel sheaths for their swords, and Wanyan He's claw on a chain which he controls with unerring skill. Less spectacular are Hong-Erh's twin swords, but she makes up for the lack of flashy hardware with impressive, deadly skill. There's lots of really good bloody action sequences offset by some (unfortunately) cheesy wire work and excessive trampoline usage (typical for Shaw Brothers films in the 60's and 70's), but it's still a fun movie to watch.

Lo Lieh plays his typical rebellious/roguish character in the film and Chang Pei-Shan is the honest, shy moral opposite to Lo Lieh's character. Typically a baddie in most films, it's nice to see Chang Pei-Shan play a good guy for a change. Chan Chun's villain isn't paticularly villainous, though he suffers a comically ignominious and bloody end. But get it straight: Shih Szu is the star of this film. She is noble, deadly and utterly convincing with her use of the twin swords and just dominates her action scenes. Her battle with swordswoman Yan-Nu (Lee Ga Sai) is very good, particularly its rousing conclusion. A great performance.

The Region 3 DVD from IVL is passably good, the color saturation being rather dull, but clear, and the audio flat, like it came out of a speaker from a cheap TV. One of the few disappointments in the DVD release. As far as extras go, ho-hum: there's a few trailers, some film info, and that's it.

With some great swordplay, particularly from Shih Szu, "Heroes of Sung" gets an 8 out of 10.