The Heroic Ones (1970)
Reviewed by: j.crawford on 1999-12-09
Summary: Family Feud!
Revenge, burnings, traditional dance numbers, drinking (drunkenness), lechery, attempted rape, plotting, more revenge, .. dynastic intrigue, pageantry, all the elements of a classic Shaw Brothers production (filmed in Shawscope!) are included in THE HEROIC ONES. This gem of the classic age of kung fu movies is directed by the great Chang Cheh who clearly is the forerunner of modern day filmmakers like Tsui Hark and his contemporaries. This epic features David Chiang in the role of the 13th prince, a powerful young fighter, one of thirteen brothers who all seem to be skilled martial artists. The 13th prince is the favored son of the king with 13 sons. he appears to be the youngest, brashest, strongest, and most charming of the 13 brothers. His lofty status with the king causes jealousy among a couple of his brothers which leads to a very gruesome family feud. The last third of the film is full of great sword-fighting and super kung fu. All the performers do well in their roles. Ti Lung performs well as the 11th prince as does Chin Han in his role as the eldest son. Han turns in a surprisingly poignant performance. This is apparently a complete version of the film and it contains one of the bloodiest, most visceral murders that I can recall seeing in any Shaw Brothers film of that era. It took this viewer completely by surprise and I loved it. Clearly, Chang Cheh should have a place of honor in the history of global cinema.
Reviewer Score: 10