The Flag of Iron (1980)
Reviewed by: pjshimmer on 2003-05-13
Spearmen of Death -- a Chang Cheh-directed kung fu picture starring 3 of the venoms: Lu Feng, Chiang Sheng, and Kuo Chui. Usually, a venoms flick works like this: Kuo Chui is always the hero, with Chiang Sheng kind of a lesser hero on the good side, and Lu Feng being the villain. This is exactly how Spearmen works.

In fact, it's one of the most fun venoms movies. There is definitely something interesting about the old school English dub, even if it ruins the mood. Lu Feng's voice job, for example, is so insultingly unfit that it works. But the dialogues are down right generic - the same lines you hear in every kung fu movie, with the same voices. I must agree with a fan who remarked that Shaw Brothers movies had the best Eng dubs of all.

There is perhaps not enough action to satisfy anyone purely looking for hardcore kung fu. For that, look towards Kid With Golden Arm and Sword Stained With Royal Blood. But, the flag fighting is probably the coolest style the venoms ever did, next to the original five deadly animals styles. Combined with great acrobatics, the fight scenes with flags are a feast to the eye.

The story is also very interesting. This time around, the characters fight with more wit than physically, which is rare in a venoms movie. Still, acting is nonexistent, and everyone is 10 times as stiff as Michael [Wood] Wong. It's just acting in old school movies in general.

Overall, I would say Spearmen is one of the better venoms movies that I have seen. It does have a little bit of everything, although it doesn't excel in any particularly area (like "5 Venoms" excels in mystery and "Crippled Avengers" in acrobatics).