You are currently displaying English
錦衣衛 (1984)
Secret Service of the Imperial Court


Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 01/28/2021
Summary: Exiting kung fu films on a positive note...

In one of the last martial arts films produced by Shaw Brothers, Leung Kar-yan plays Sgt. Zhao Bufa, the head of the Brocade Guard. The Guard was a secret, ruthless squad that would carry out executions and murders for the Emperor. The Brocade was headed up by Bufa’s father, Zhao Wuyi, who ran the group with a creed of being merciless. Meanwhile, the eunuch Wang Chun (Lau Wing) has manipulated the Emperor’s weakness with a constant stream of courtesans and has effectively taken control of the country’s power structure. The Emperor defers to Chun on every decision, even those about who to punish or kill. Wang Chun uses this new found power to start to clear out rivals and anyone else that can stand in his way. Eventually that means taking over the Brocade and ordering Wuyi to kill his own son for disloyalty to the Emperor. This leads to Bufa taking to a life on the run, until he eventually decides to confront Wang and exact revenge.

It’s hard to believe Shaw Brothers was still putting out kung fu movies in 1984, when Hollywood hit movies such as Sixteen Candles, Beverly Hills Cop and The Natural were being released. I guess the popularity was still there and the numbers made sense. In all senses, it’s a really good kung fu film, albeit one that you might expect to see released 10 years before. Leung Kar Yan is excellent in the lead role, and is bolstered by supporting roles featuring favorites Lo Meng, Ku Feng, Lo Lieh and Lau Wing. Although a bit far fetched in some of the 100 vs 1 fight scenes, you do get excellent face-offs between Leung and Philip Ko Fei, as well as the final fight with Lau Wing in full eunuch-mode. Although not as epic as Eight Diagram Pole Fighter, (also released in 1984) it was a positive way for the Shaw studios to exit the genre and move on to more modern fare as they looked to try and keep up with Raymond Chow and Golden Harvest Studios.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/19/2004
Summary: 3/5

*** SECRET SERVICE OF THE IMPERIAL COURT: Takes quite a while to get going, but the last half hour or so is a lot of fun carnage. Leung Kar Yan has done better.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 11/17/2003
Summary: PRetty good.........

Well i did enjoy watching this movie but not as much as the other reviewers below me.

The bad: the editing could of been better, some scenes look like they jump from one thing to another. The sped up fighting at times is noticable and then makes some of the other scenes look slow!!

The good: The story though simple is one about justice and doing whats right. The price of what is doing whats right is a hard one. Leung Kar yan plays this role very well, a rightous yet cold blooded imperial guard. There are no other stand outs as he's dominates every scene he is in.

Worth watching, the action is good though sped up at times and the story though simple is enough.

7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 05/20/2001
Summary: Near perfection

This movie, considering it was made in 1984, looks terribly out of date compared to other movies made in this era starring Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and perhaps Michelle Yeoh. But in general, I think this is an excellent film. The soundtrack is by far the best to come out of any SB production. The action is so-so for movies of this period, but nevertheless enjoyable. The plot is really well-written, with lots of betrayal, values, and emotional approaches. The acting is very, very good, and the whole movie is not far from flawless. The only problem, really, is that 90% of the movie was shot in the dark, and the print is extra dark. No, it will never be considered a masterpiece, but it's just one of those good old flicks everyone likes to watch. It makes you feel good afterwards - unless, of course, you're not into the genre.

[9/10]


Reviewed by: Gerardh
Date: 03/26/2000

Liang Jia Ren stars in this story of honor and betrayal with the government police force. Ren is cast as a captain on the force who is under the control of his father( Ku Feng). They work under the childish Emperor who is hardly responsible to do his duty. When a blood thirsty eunuch usurps the Emperor's power, Ren decides that it is time to call it quits. Furious, the Emperor orders Ku Feng to kill his own son, but somehow, Ren manages to live every time. Realizing that his troops are not Ren's match, the Eunuch decides to kill him hiself. This results in a fight scene that is one for the ages. A great film overall, with enough swordplay to keep you going for hours.