The Cannibals (1972)
Reviewed by: STSH on 2003-07-12
Summary: Stylish and weird
I'll hand it to Go Bo Shu - her films seem to have a distinctive feel about them. I just don't quite know how to describe it yet, but it really stands out.

The action starts with the first frame. There's no messing around here. The baddies leapt across the frame and attack Pao Tung, assigned to guard a chest of silver coins for charity. Just the villains' bad luck that Pao's brother happens to be a fu master.

The action is plentiful and mostly pretty good. This film contains a number of surprises, including Chen Chen showing some fighting skill. Even though her more serious moves appear to be done by a body double, she acquits her self quite well. Of course any film with Chang Yi in it will have at least a good level of quality fu. He's a little constrained here because - and this is the biggest suprise - he plays a good guy. Not only that, but he's a romantic lead as well ! This from an actor who not long after made a long career of playing supervillains with extraordinary fu skills. Perhaps they hadn't quite worked out what to do with him yet.

Despite the stylish look and fairly good fights, the story and character development are a muddle. This is far from prolific Ni Kuang's greatest script. There are more than half a dozen main characters, and the viewpoint reels around between all of them, more or less at random. This seriously compromises the flow of the film, and is probably the main reason that the result is just fair to good, rather than very good. I think it was done this way to get all the great cast a fair share of screen time, especially Chen Chen, whose character really doesn't contribute much to the story.

As with other Go Bo Shu films, much loving attention is paid to gambling, particularly in the casino. These scenes are well shot and entertaining.

The ending is unusual, in that it seeks justice for the baddies, rather than all-round slaughter.

Overall, rather muddled but worth watching anyway.


Reviewer Score: 7