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劍花煙雨江南 (1977)
To Kill with Intrigue

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 05/19/2016
Summary: What could have been and thankfully wasn't...

Jackie Chan plays Hsiao Lei, a filial son bent on revenge in this Gu Long adaptation directed by Lo Wei. After his parents and almost entire family are wiped out by the Killer Bee clan, he is spared by the leader (Hsu Feng) who decides that his suffering throughout life is worse than death. Hsiao goes to find his spurned girlfriend Chin Chin (Yu Ling-Lung) who has taken up with his best friend Chen Chun (Sin Il-Ryong). In a case of mistaken identity, Hsiao is attacked by the Bloody Rain clan who were hired to kill Chen Chun for stealing the Dragon Escorts' treasure. Later, Hsiao is convinced to join the Dragon Escorts and accompanies them on their search for Chen Chun. They run across the Bloody Rain clan again who are looking for revenge from their previous encounter, but this time Ting Chan Yen (who has fallen in love with a seriously wounded Hsiao) and her Killer Bee clan comes to their aid and wipes out the Bloody Rain. While the Dragon Escorts are meeting their benefactor and explaining the loss of the treasure, Hsiao is kept in seclusion and healed by Ting Chan. Unfortunately, he is not allowed to leave until he is skilled enough to beat her in a fight, and each time he loses he is permanently disfigured. When he finally succeeds, he sets of to find Chen Chun and avenge the Dragon Escorts.

Expectedly complicated (as most Gu Long stories), To Kill With Intrigue is a decent wuxia film with above average choreography and the added benefit of a young Jackie Chan. Although not in the comedic-slanted role that he would become so well known for, his natural screen fighting ability shines through and lifts the film from mediocrity. Hsu Feng is also good as the Killer Bee leader who is bent on her own revenge but ends up falling for Jackie, even if she has a strange way of showing it. Not the best film, but good enough for Jackie fans to check out a path that might have been taken if he had not found his true calling a year later initially with Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin and then in full with Drunken Master. Thank god he did.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 04/27/2006
Summary: A different view...

OK…everyone has their guilty secret. I don’t like To Kill With Intrigue. I LOVE it. And yes, I have had my medication today.

And I don’t mean in a camp “so bad it’s good” way. I think it’s genuinely gripping. The great thing about HK films is that everyone has their own weird wonder that they keep coming back to, no matter how bad the reviews are. I understand that 99.9% of everyone who sees this film hates it with a passion usually reserved for rapists and child molesters, and to be honest, I can see their point (and even Jackie himself said he pitied anyone who sat through it). But here’s my case for the defence:

1. Jackie Chan plays a character type he’s never played before and (probably) never will again.
2. The story is extremely well paced and, to me, seems to make perfect sense. OK, it’s mad as a bucket and totally unbelievable, but my point is that there are no loose threads and everyone acts in a more-or-less logical way. I can’t say the same for a lot of HK action movies from the same era (or, to tell the truth, from ANY era). Furthermore, I find myself caring for the characters, which is a bit of an oddity in itself.
3. The final fight oozes atmosphere. I just love the setting, and the kicking that ensues.

So let me come out of the closet and say that I rate this film above all of Jackie’s 70’s films bar Drunken Master. If I’m perfectly honest, I’ll rate it above a few of his 80’s films as well.

One of my proudest moments was obtaining this film on the Ocean Shores VCD, complete with original language soundtrack and English subs. I realize that some people like the English dub for the moment when Jackie cries “I’m a beast!”, but for me, the original language is the only way to see this film. If anyone knows how to obtain it in the same format but on DVD, please let me know. Your identity will, of course, remain undisclosed. No one need know your secret.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 02/23/2003
Summary: Blah

TO KILL WITH INTRIGUE was made in the same year as Chor Yuen's CLANS OF INTRIGUE, and I presume it was based on the same novel by Gu Long. I would never have guessed this from just watching the movies though, as they have absolutely no characters or plot points in common. Comparing the two, there is no question that CLANS OF is far better than TO KILL WITH. Everything about the Chor Yuen movie is better than this Lo Wei production, even with Jackie Chan in the cast.

The plot is fairly typical Gu Long stuff - rival kung fu clans, intrigue and betrayal and lots of wu xia style fighting (people leaping to the tops of high buildings and the like). There's some fairly colourful characters, though the cheap production means that the make up and costumes rarely do the characters justice.

Lo Wei just never was a terribly good director, and would probably never have been remembered by the public at large if it weren't for his association with Bruce Lee's first movie and various early Jackie Chan films. Comparing the Lo Wei directed works by those stars with almost anything else from their later careers shows how little able Lo Wei was to use them, and Jackie was lucky he got rescued by Yuen Wo Ping or the history of Hong Kong Cinema might have been decidedly different.

I guess TO KILL... is not a terrible movie, despite looking cheap and tacky. It has a plot that contains plenty of moments of interest, and a lot of action that is sometimes not bad. In the grand pantheon of wu xia movies it would have to rank pretty low though.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 03/27/2002

Jackie Chan in a movie adapted from a Gu Long novel. I'll be damnned.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/16/2002

When it came to these early Jackie Chan movies, they were either hit or miss. This is definitely a miss. This movie is complete garbage, but don't let that cloud your judgement of my reviews, because as you can see from other reviews I have written on these movies, you will see that I do rate a lot of the early Jackie Chan films quite high.

I will not write about the story, as it is very poor, and really can't be bothered to as it is so poor.

This one is one of those movies that probably will never be re-released again, and will be lost forever. The only comment about that, is "GOOD". It's very bad, really it is. Do not bother watching this is you've never seen it before.

Rating: 1.5/5

(This rating is based on the year & genre, it's not being compared to other movies made before or after it's year of release.)

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

This movie was a little different for Jackie than some of the others he did for Lo Wei. For one thing, Jackie is not a clear cut hero. He actually spurns a pregnant girl (with his child) and causes her to flee into the night. Though we find out he's doing this act to protect her, it still is portrayed as a cruel act. Something we fans, are not used to. Over all, not bad. Not great. Worth a rental.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Another goody. Excellent plot, and terrific (but a littletoo unrealistic) fighting sequences.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Kung fu violence and revenge tale, with a man being seriously injured by a gang and embarking on the expected vengeance-seeking mission.


[Reviewed by Elliot's Guide to Films on Video]