Ode to Gallantry (1982)
Reviewed by: pjshimmer on 2005-10-04
Summary: Severely miscast
This movie is adapted from the novel Xia Ke Xin by Louis Cha. It's shorter than his major works, which is why I chose to read it. As usual, Chang Cheh's wuxia adaptions lack the emotion and excitement of the original source. There is almost no expression on any actor's face. The acting, or lack thereof, is laughable, but that's to be expected from the old school period. Several actors are severely miscast. For example, the Bastard is supposed to be 12-13 years old in the first scene, yet Kuo Choi is clearly much older. Bei Haishi in the novel is an old coughing man suffering from illness, yet Sun Chien is healthy and youthful as anything. Min Rou in the novel never really got by a scene without crying, yet the actress here got by without crying at all.

The movie is probably about 60% faithful to the novel. For those interested, I have summarized the major changes:

-The Galland Island is completely omitted. Instead, Xie Yanke (Wang Li) is the one who executes the Rewarding / Punishment. the Changle Association and the other clans are afraid of Xie Yanke because of this.

-As a result of the above, Xie Yanke appears in the movie a lot more than in the novel.

-Mei Fanggu confirms that Bastard / Shi Potian (Kuo Choi) is indeed the son of Shi Qing.

-Bei Haishi and the other members of Changle Association now feel remorse for having setup the protagonist. They even assist him discover his identity.