Chan fans, don't be fooled. The cover of more than one version of this film shows Jackie prominently on the cover. But make no mistake. This is a standard Jimmy Wang Yu vehicle, from start to finish. Though not in every scene, Jimmy and his character dominate this film. Jackie appears for only about ten minutes, and much of that time he spends lying down !
Reviewer Score: 7
The most striking feature of this film, apart from the predominance of strong primary colours on the set, is the mind-bogglingly complicated plot. More than a dozen major support characters compete for attention, and several of these have hidden or multiple identities. Trying to keep up with who is allied with or against who, and why they do what they do, could be harmful to one's mental health. Perhaps the scriptwriter was trying to mix swordplay and kung fu in with an Agatha Christie style murder mystery.
Overall, there's less action here than many of Jimmy Wang's other films, but this is not a problem. The acting ranges from awful to (occasionally) ordinary, but the combination of complex plot and a number of great fight scenes combine to disguise this deficiency. Well, most of the time. I must admit there are a few short bits where the action/complexity slow down to such an extent that the low standard of acting starts to show. But it's eay to forget these bits.
Unlike many of Jimmy's films, this one has a happy ending. And it is a truly bizarre one. Also, it's fun to see Jackie Chan playing a villain. He's quite good at it, too. Perhaps a pity that, not long after this film was made, he made the choice, and had the star power to insist, on always being a good guy.