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八道樓子 (1976)
Seven Man Army

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 05/07/2006
Summary: An excercise in flag-waving

Set in 1933, four years before the Sino-Japanese conflict truly began (until then, China had pretty much yielded to the Japanese), 7-Man Army tells the tale of a small group of heroic Chinese patriots and their defence of a small fortress.

The main problem with 7-Man Army is that it doesn’t know whether to be a war film or a Kung Fu movie. The cast is quite stellar, including Fu Sheng, Ti Lung, David Chiang and Chen Kuan-Tai (who is nearly unrecognisable with a moustache), but the trouble with Shaw Brothers’ ensemble pieces such as this is that the focus is lost and nobody really stands out. Also, it has to be said that if the Japanese just tried to SHOOT the defenders instead of engaging in bayonet combat at every given opportunity, this film would have been over in about twenty minutes instead of dragging on for the best part of two hours.

The flashbacks for each major character range from pointless to good, although some of the best flashbacks feel like they were taken from other (and better) films. These take place pretty much through the whole of the film, and attempt to give each character’s reason for being in the war. Instead, it only serves to break up the flow of the already too drawn-out plot.

Look for early appearances from Lau Kar-Fai and Leung Kar-Yan (Beardy) as Mongol mercenaries. Also in attendance is veteran bad guy extraordinaire Wang Lung-Wei.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/10/2006
Summary: Boring

The only good thing i can say about this movie is the all star cast.

The bad, flashbacks about the characters which was boring.
The japanese, when they attack, they decide to use there swords instead of there guns!!
The japanese soldiers, they speak fluent chinese (yes, i do know they are played by chinese actors but still!!)
The revenge story for Alexander Fu Sheng character is just too corny!!
The ending, the japanese honouring the fallen heroes, how crazy is that!!

Disappointing,cliched, there is nothing to recommend here apart from the all star cast

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: Michael Kistner
Date: 12/27/2005
Summary: 7/10

Not one of Chang Cheh's best movies, but entertaining thanks to a good cast and a few great fight scenes.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

The only only only ONLY film to have all 5 of the 1st stable ofChang Cheh actors. This movie is almost is almost like 5 Shaolin Masters except with Chen Kuan Tai instead of Meng Fei! Personally, I wish Chen Kuan Tai was in 5 Shaolin Masters.

[Reviewed by Phelton C. Lim]