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武林聖鬥士 (1992)
Deadend of Besiegers


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 04/06/2011

For the most part, Japanese characters have not been treated very well in Hong Kong and Chinese martial arts films. From classics like Fist of Fury to newer entries like Ip Man, the Japanese are often presented as caricatures that showcase every negative stereotype possible in order to raise up jingoistic feelings in the local audience. So when an entry like 1992's unfortunately titled Deadend of Besiegers comes around that treats the Japanese characters (or at least some of them) as well-rounded individuals, it's at least worth a look.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: PAUL MARTINEZ
Date: 02/02/2008
Summary: An OK film

Well,based on the earlier reviews, I expected a little more from this film. It wasn't bad, and anytime we get to see Yu Rong Guang show his stuff is a good thing, still I was somewhat underwhelmed.

The plot is loosely based on the story of the history of Karate. Which I hadnt seen before but I feel there were a lot of poetic licensing taking place here. Somewhat silly at times and other times just not believable. Again it wasn't terrible just average.

I'm not a big fan of Cynthia Khan's. This performance didn't win me over any. She uses her trademark smirk as an acting tool countless times throughout the film. Unfortunately there's more to acting than that. Yu Rong Guang does a solid job as Wuwechimatao. I think he's a better actor he's given credit for. As an earlier reviewer pointed out, the young girl whose name is unfortunately unknown to me really steals the show. Her personality is infectious and it really comes across the screen well.

The Martial Art scenes are by far this movies strong point. Especially anything involving Mr.Yu. Even Ms.Khan does a decent job in her scenes. They did a good job of showing the Pirates fighting a different style than the chinese.

Overall, not a bad film. With some good action and an OK watch for 90 minutes. Although it's not something I'm going to look to rewatch anytime soon.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 03/16/2006

Life changing events can turn on simple, actually almost simple-minded explanations such as “I didn’t know it was loaded” or “she told me she was 18”, or “I got on the wrong boat”. In “Deadend of Besiegers” Yu Rong-Guang, when asked how a noble and sympathetic Japanese martial artist found himself part of a gang of cutthroats attacking a Chinese village said that he got on the wrong boat. He thought he was sailing to China with a group of peaceful traders only to find they were pirates.

Why his character Wuwechimatao was in such a predicament is shown in flashback, in a very compressed sequence that is so full of action that you don’t mind that it hinges on a number of one in a million coincidences happening in exactly the right order. First Wuwechimatao is publicly beaten and humiliated by a foreigner. Then, as he is about to kill himself a Chinese monk happens by and convinces him that while ritual suicide is a noble thing to do, the monk has a book that will help him defeat the white devil who just humiliated him—it is the manual for Dog Fist kung fu. Finally, there are two boats leaving at the same time for a small coastal town in China, one with pirates the other with merchants.

Once there it seems the pirates made bad mistake in attacking this particular town, since it is the home not only of Dog Fist kung fu but of a competing and equally deadly school, Tiger Fist. It is also protected by a walled garrison, manned by well armed Chinese soldiers. So instead of looting and raping, the pirates have to fight a pitched battle on the beach—they aren’t even sharp enough to hold a bunch of village children they have ambushed and plan to keep for ransom.

Wuwechimatao saves the kids and one kid in particular, a wonderful child actress who comes very close to stealing every scene she is in. Wuwechimatao has to fight both the marauding Japanese, who take him as a traitor and the defending Chinese who assume he is one of the attackers. To make things even more difficult, while he can use his sword on the Japanese, he has to ward off the Chinese without killing them or even hurting them too badly.

The child he saves then bonds with Wuwechimatao and saves him from the angry citizens who want to string him up as one of the attackers. On of his disguises is as a madman, which gives Yu Rong-Guang one of his many scenes to show his martial arts skills. He is terrific—lightning hands and feet, very agile and powerful, obviously well trained, if not in a specific fighting skill (which he may be) then in the ability to sell it on screen. In succeeding battles he dispatches scores of pirates, sometimes punching an opponent with one hand, slashing another with a sword in the other hand and kicking yet a third.

Cynthia Khan is Cui Gu the leader of the Dog Fist kung fu school and does everything admirably. The director used her very well, first by filling the screen with plenty of close-ups of her face—she is, of course, astoundingly beautiful. Even though encumbered by several layers of period costume she was credible as a kung fu master, sweeping enemies off their feet with well executed kicks. Yu Rong-Guang was the action director—he decided that Dog Fist style would include a lot of ground work, so there were lots of sweeping leg moves and skidding along the ground.

There are a couple of subplots. The main one is uniting the two competing kung fu dynasties through the marriage of the leaders of each school. This allows Cynthia to shed a tear and look longingly at the departing Japanese warrior as he sails back to his homeland, knowing that her place is in China married to the scion of the Eagle Fist kung fu school. Presumably Yu Rong-Guang finds the egregiously costumed and bewigged gwielo who humiliated him and gives him sound beating.

“Deadend of Besiegers” is an excellent movie of its type with charismatic stars, plenty of hand to hand combat, weapons work and even artillery fire. There is an evil traitor among the defenders whose efforts are offset by a few of the Chinese who know more about what is happening than they let on. Wuwechimatao comes within a second of being beheaded and is shut in a coffin to suffocate but, of course, survives. He is actually a very appealing character—all he wants to do is learn the Dog Fist style, like the old monk told him to do, and he is willing to submit himself to anyone who can teach him.

Recommended.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 06/13/2001
Summary: Refreshing, quite a gem

DEADEND OF BESIEGERS - first things first... eh? The name of the movie means nothing in English, and even less in context. That said, it is a marvellous film. Yu Rong Guang stars as a Japanese swordsman who travels to China to learn the Dog Fist style of martial arts. Unfortunately, the place where he lands is suffering attacks from Japanese pirates, so the local populace take him as one and aren't best pleased to see him. The exception is a young girl (played by a great child actress, really charismatic) whose life he saves, and who befriends and feeds him, and teaches him some Cantonese. Kind of like ET, but less extra terrestrial. Cynthia Khan stars as the girl's sister, an expert in the Dog Fist style.

The film is in the "hidden gem" category, though it's becoming quite well known these days so it's not so hidden after all. It is a good film, featuring some fantastic fight scenes. Yu Rong gets to show his stuff much more than in IRON MONKEY, and he is *good*. Really fast, agile and with good forms. Much respect... I wonder why he hasn't had more success? He also choreographed the action, very well. The fights use very few wires and little speed up, and hence feature some of the best hand to hand and weapons fight scenes of the period. There's lots and lots of fighting, and it's all good. Cynthia Khan is also pretty good, though more as an acrobat than a fighter... her fight scenes tend to be a little too sped up. Her solo demonstration of the dog fist style is excellent though.

There's quite a bit of fish-out-of-water comedy, which I'm not a fan of but which isn't too offensive here. Despite the film seemingly wanting to take a more fair stance in its message, the overall feel is definitely anti-Japanese... and even more anti-gweilo in the one instance a white guy appears. Quite justifiably though in this case, as the actor/fighter concerned is an incredibly stupid looking man :-)

The Yuki DVD is pretty bad... full frame (except the credit sequences, which are at about 14:9... why couldn't they have stuck to that? Also a bad transfer, that makes it impossible to see what's happening in the fight scenes set in the dark. A nice widescreen transfer of the film would be near the top of my wants list, but the film is still enjoyable in this form.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 01/16/2000
Summary: Highly recommended

Very entertaining and visually gorgeous historical clash of cultures and fu fighting styles.
The story reminded me a lot of the later Wing Chun, and the end scene has echoes of Fong Sai Yuk II. This movie is an excellent showcase for the fu talents of Yu Rong Gang and Cyn Khan (which are considerable), and Yu has great fun with his role. The pacing is just perfect, neither breakneck nor boring, and top marks to the cinematographer for making this film a feast for the eye.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: leh
Date: 12/09/1999

Good traditional martial arts with very little wire-work.Interesting meeting between the Japanese and Chinese arts of beating people up.