© Shaw Brothers 1971 © Celestal Pictures / Image Entertainment 2009
Director -Lo Wei
Starring – Cheng Pei Pei – Tien Feng – Yueh Hua
Another of our looks at a Saw Brothers classic, must admit where a bit behind on our planned twelve reviews for our second Spring of Shaw Season.
We all love revenge themed stories ,you know the good guy battles all to lay redemption to those that had done them wrong.
The film follows the legend of the shadow whip , a famous fighter who disappeared after stealing some valuables from his close friend and killing him.
Of course this is all hogwash , but we don't know that rite ?
Many yeas have passed and in a remote area in a small village a group of men are coming together, there searching for the legendary Shadow Whip to seek out revenge for the death of their master .
Searching for years and not really coming up with much ,the small village they happen on manages to bring them luck in the form of Yun Kai -Yun (Cheng Pei Pei) who after saving her happy go lucky co-hort who gets into a fight he clearly can not win.
Kai-yun uses a whip to deal with her attackers and it is a lonesome wanderer by the name of Wang ( Yuen Hua) who iterates her use of the whip as something special and asks if she is related to the Shadow Whip Fang Chen-tian ,played in the film by Feng Tien ( Fist of Fury – Better Tomorrow) who has starred in some 150 films through out his career.
Kai-yun discloses that she does not know who they are referring to and and says she lives with her uncle Fang who runs a local Inn.
This get members of the search party looking for the Whip curious and one of their seniors Hong Dapeng here played by the legendary Ku Feng decides to investigate.
But even our lonely wanderer Wang has a curiosity about the Inn and also decides he should check it out after he is met with a abruptness by Kai-yun.
Of course these goings on reveal the truth behind who the Inn keeper is ,is he the Shadow whip or not ,don't worry it's not long before all his identity is revealed in this classic wuxia film from 1971.
Directed by LoWei , the legendary director who left Shaw's to work at Golden Harvest ,which actually gave Lo Wei the best two films he ever done , Big Boss and Fist of Fury.
Of course Lo Wei also went on to have his own film company ,though on a budget ,but he was responsible for many of Jackie Chan's early back catalogue prior to Snake in the Eagles Shadow and Drunken Master.
Here Lo Wei's direction is good but by 1971 things had moved on a bit and Shadow Whip looks more like it was made late sixties .
Also the Wuxia genre was making way for hard core Kung Fu films as they proved more popular to fans of action cinema at the time.
But the action is well delivered with Cheng Pei Pei showing she has what it takes to be a action star.
Yes there's use of wire work with people flying of into the stratosphere to escape attack ( if only I could move that fast) , but it's a sturdy cast that makes the film entertaining and a sub story which reveals more revelations in the plot.
Shadow Whip is a a good entertaining film , it may not be in the leagues of Shaw's big hitters like One Armed Swordsman,36th Chamber and so fort but it's novel setting of a snow covered wintry landscape and some scenes that look like they where not filmed on the Shaw Brothers lot and if they where then well done to them for making them look like they weren't.
Even Feng Tien gets some good action scenes as well as Yuen Hua which makes for some well choreographed action.
Director : Lo Wei
Year : 1971
Production : Shaw Brothers
Country: Hong Kong
Cheng Pei Pei