The 13 Cold-Blooded Eagles (1993)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2007-02-25
“Thirteen Cold Blooded Eagles” is confusing in that it doesn’t seem to have a moral center, unusual for movies of this type where there are clear cut good guys and bad guys. While Cynthia Khan is definitely on the side of truth and justice the Eagles in the title, with a couple of exceptions, are an ethically ambiguous group. They have been brainwashed by Foster Father, definitely a force for evil, to attack and kill those who he describes as enemies. But even though they are in his thrall, within the “family” they also compete over status and precedence. Adultery, treachery and a lack of compassion and concern for each other are so commonplace that they are barely commented upon. The Eagles don’t realize that their blind obedience to Foster Father, the only virtue that he insists upon, make them vulnerable—both to him, since he is able to replace any of them who is killed, injured or just starts to wise up, and to his putative enemies since they don’t know what they are fighting for. They are tricked—or allow themselves to be tricked—into thinking they are a force for righteousness in the world of martial arts.

Quihua played by Cynthia Khan is far and away the most dynamic and provocative character on the screen—she runs a hospital of sorts that helps to heal wounded assassins, is heiress to one of the secret books of kung fu lore and is almost unbeatable in a sword fight. When Yinmin (Waise Lee) staggers into her regenerative hands after being almost killed by the Shinshu monster the stage is set for his enlightenment concerning Foster Father and the Eagles. He had fallen into Hell—actually a deep hole in the ground--which is occupied by a crazy old man who says that whoever falls down the hole has to stay for all eternity and suffer torments worse than death. Since he has been there for decades he seems to know whereof he speaks. It turns out that the old man is Yinmin’s father and he still retains some of the power he had years ago which he passes on to his son and then dies.

Since Foster Father want to collect all the books of kung fu secrets that exist in China—telling the gullible Eagles that he wants to destroy them and then rid the world of evil—and Quihua is in possession of the Star-Bleed Skills Book, inherited from her dying father, conflict between them is inevitable. Having this book is decidedly a mixed blessing since practicing these skills led to her father’s death. This isn’t a “don’t try this at home” set of instructions but more like “don’t try this at all”.

Ultimately the good (or real, if you will) fathers must win which means that Foster Father must lose. Yinmin’s encounter with his father creates the basis for his disenchantment and disgust with Foster Father. Quihua understands that she has to learn the Star Bleed Skills in order to avenge her father and defeat the source of evil.

“The Thirteen Cold Blooded Eagles is a must see for Cynthia Khan fans. She actually gets to dress up for a change although her some of her costumes could have been recycled from Glenda the good witch. She is gorgeous and is shown off with excellent lighting, very favorable camera angles and a full glamour make-up treatment. Her fitness and athleticism is displayed in some of the extreme wire work that happens throughout the movie.

Recommended, especially for fans of Cynthia Khan
Reviewer Score: 6