Killer Clans (1976)
Reviewed by: pjshimmer on 2003-06-01
Summary: Genre pioneer
Much popularity of the Shaw Brothers swordplay subgenre of the late 70s owes to "Killer Clans" for pioneering the success. Although it lacks some star power--no Ti Lung, Derek Yee, or Liu Yung, Killer Clans is an undeniably intricate adaption of Gu Long's novel.

On a personal scale, Killer Clans is a favorite. I had seen it a few years back and enjoyed it, but this time around, watching it was a whole another level. First, the crispy remastered transfer helps. But more importantly, it's the magical story that drives the force.

I had just seen a TV series that is a remake of this novel, "Meteor, Butterfly, Sword." I completely fell in love with the story all over again, and I was eager to view Killer Clans one more time. The TV remake is actually a more faithful adaption, but Killer Clans is nevertheless much more faithful than "Butterfly Sword" (1993), the famous 90s adaption. To me, this novel is Gu Long's finest achievement. The structure of the story is extremely complex, and the theme of "trusting an enemy, but never a friend" is a scary one. The story truly embraces the saying "Jiang Hu is dangerous, but the mind is more dangerous."

Killer Clans is an excellent adaption. It was the best achievement possible at the time. The main downer is the action, which is an insult to the fantasy wuxia genre, but it didn't bother me, as I knew what to expect.