群英會
Trilogy of Swordsmanship (1972)


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 03/18/2007
Summary: 3 for the price of one

i am not sure of the titles of the 3 short movies but i think they are

1) ??? FLAG of iron, main star is Yueh Hua, a magistrates son wants a restaurant owners daughter and persistently pursues her. IF He can lift and shoot her late fathers bow, then he can have her hand in marriage!! But the bow itself is very heavy and he misfires, but believes he did hit a bird, but in fact it was Yueh hua's arrow that struck the bird. He easily lifts the bow and tells the magistrates son to go away. The owners daughter is smitten but Yueh Hua but the magistrates son continues to scheme to try to force her hand in marriage. REALLY not a original story and it just ends up with lots of fighting, look out for BOLO with HAIR!!

2) The tigress, most impressive of the three, this should of been a whole movie in itself. A general is sentenced to death because his prostitute held him back from seeing the magistrate. The prostitute convinces the magistrate to let him go and soon she agrees to help capture a notorious bandit, played by Lo Lieh, who in the past has attempted to pursue her and told her she will one day play the instrument (sorry forgotten the name of the instrument but its like a chinese guitar). So her, her prostitute friends who know how to fit and the general go after Lo Lieh, infiltrating his lair. But Lo Lieh knows the tigress from the past and it only until the end she finds out his true identity. Very moving ending, someone needs to make this into a movie length film!!

3) white water strand, DAvid Chiang is a wondering hero who stumbles on individuals rescueing a man in chains, Ti lung and helps the guards fight them off but lets Ti lung and his group to leave. The guards thank DAvid Chiang for his efforts and there master meets him, but also drugs him. There is a change in government, a new emperor and wants to use DAvid Chiang as a example to those who are against the government. Ti lung and his band attempt to save him. Similar to the first story, where its basically just fighting and more fighting

the first and third movies, i would give 5/10. but the second movie, 10/10
I do understand these are short movies and its very difficult to develop characters and a plot, and i guess you have to view them with that in mind, they are roughly half an hour each.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: batgirl
Date: 03/20/2004
Summary: Sampler of three directors, three styles

I have to admit, I only remember two of the three stories, but that may indicate something in itself. The only one that gets any press usually is the last of the three "White Water Strand" directed by Chang Cheh, with Ti Lung and David Chiang. All three were historic pieces, with the usual flashy costumes and flashing swords (my favourite genre, sorry).
White Water Strand has a flavour of Water Margin, with heroic rebel families, mistaken loyalties, daring rescues and almost everyone dying. David Chiang plays his familiar dubious character who proves his heroism by the end, Ti Lung is the straightforward hero who doesn't trust him, Shih Szu is the warrior woman, or as close as Chang Cheh usually gets to that concept.
The other piece that I remember is much lighter in tone. It's about a playboy prince who spends too much time with his concubines and singing girls, and not enough time leading his troops. When he's captured, it's up to the courtesans to rescue him, which they do in fine style. No swords, but colourful gauzey scarfs are used as whips and ropes to catch weapons and entangle limbs. If you like gritty realistic combat, this will probably make you puke. The story may have been inspired by a legend of Sun Wu training the emperor's concubines to prove his abilities - though he had to behead the emperor's two favourites before the rest would pay attention.
Addendum - I was able to get hold of a (very bad) print of this at last. The story I had forgotten was "The Iron Bow" about a (secretly rebel) family running a mountain inn. Hanging up in the inn is an iron bow, which no one but a true hero can draw. Shades of the return of Odysseus! Throw in a detachment of Manchu troops, secret communications with the rebels, two young men interested in the daughter of the family - of course one is a tool of the Manchu forces and the other is a lively young rebel - and it's an entertaining story. This segment had more of a shot-on-location and gritty feel to it than the others, perhaps because the story is confined to the inn and the village.