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                               Head to Head Film Review

Another in our Head to Head features ,where we look at two films,One Classic and a more recent update which share the same story or have a connection in their story lines.

 

 

                            14 Amazons

 1972

 

14 AMAZONS

Shaw Brothers made some of the finest swordplay films ( wuxia) of the 60's and 70's.
Now many of these films never got released outside of Hong Kong and China.

The few that did earned them selves a cult following among fans. Many travelled to late night cinema showings to view the latest Shaw film ,most of which where dubbed in English often with hilarious results (but that's what made the films so great sometimes) even when the film was deadly serious.

Now many of the Shaw films are available on import now in their original Mandarin Language with English and Chinese Subtitles.

14 Amazons at present is only available at the moment on a USA DVD (Eng dub/Mandarin with Subs) and Japanese DVD (Mandarin /Japanese subs).

I viewed the USA release by Funimation and watched it in the English dub ( as I always enjoyed the old dubs,new dubs are to good) ,now the this review goes head to head with the release of the remake of this film called ''Legendary Amazons'' which is produced by Jackie Chan.

14 Amazons follows the story of the Yang Clan after all the Yang men of the clan are killed in battle and all that remain are the woman and remaining son of one of the Yang Generals.

When two Generals who turn up turn up at the Yang Residence during the birthday of the Great Grandmother of the clan to inform the Grand Matriarch Mu Kuei Ying ( Ivy Ling Po) that her husband General Yang Tsung-Pao was ambushed and killed ,leaving her a widow and her son Yang Wen Kuan ( Lily Ho) the only heir left to the Yang Clan.

She Tai Chun (Great Grandmother) vows revenge , the young Yang Wen must prove himself to go into battle by fighting his Mother .

But when A government official by the name of Wang Ching arrives to pay respects he relays that he will not order the imperial troop to assist the Yang's in their revenge in case of big losses .He says the Emperor will not allow it.

She Tai Chun and the other Yang Female Generals vow to go it alone , Wang Ching vows they are to be charged with treachery if they go it alone against the orders of the Emperor .

A subordinate confirms they could be charged and the penalty is death. But when She Tai Chun confronts Wang and threatens to hit him with her Golden sceptre he tells them not to go there, but when it becomes known that the Sceptre was given to the Yang Clan by a previous Emperor and who ever holds it is above the Law ,it looks like Wang is out of luck and you know what ? he is ,She Tai Chun hits him with it several times....
After the incident the Yang Army and the female generals go on their way to attack the King of Asia Hsia (Mongolia) played here by Feng Tien .

The Female generals and their army head towards the stronghold of the Mongols ,now many prisoners have been caught and used as slaves by the Mongols, when one of the slaves hears that the Mongols know of the impending attack by the Yang Army he risks his life to escape and alert the Yang.

He escapes after battling one of the Mongol wrestlers played by a young Bolo Yeung.

When he escapes he has to convince the Yang he is on their side as they think him a spy.

14 Amazons is a fun film with some great battles that are filmed with realism as the Yang try and break through a fire trap as their attacked by the Mongols who seem to be wearing some kind of Santa Claus Fetish costume ( it's so funny) ,there's a great scene when some the Female Yang get captured and Young Yang Wen gets floored ,a Mongol expresses his intention to slice open his guts, Young Yang Wen replies ( in a high pitched squeaky voice) ''Go on then ,then your see real guts as you don't have any'' what a line , just great..

But also what's great about the film is the stupendous Human Draw Bridge which is a marvel in ideas. Whoever thought of this is genius and it looks so good .

Add to this the many big star names in the film which basically include most of the big Shaw Female stars at that time, including Betty Ting Pei.

Also look out for Corey Yuen Kwei and Yuen Biao,Eric Tsang and Lo Lieh.

So if you want to see some great battles ,crazy outfits then don't miss 14 Amazons .

A true Classic with more Femme Fatel's then you can count on screen at any one time.

Female ball busting at it's best.

Score out of Ten = 8
 
               14 Amazons stills and Alternate posters

 

 

 

 

 

See more then 80 stills in the Photo Gallery here!

                      14 Amazons Cast and Credits
Directed by Cheng Gang
Charles Tung
Produced by Run Run Shaw
Screenplay by Cheng Gang
Story by Ko Yeung
Starring Lisa Lu
Ivy Ling Po

Chen Yen-yen
Ou-yang Sha-fei
Lily Ho
Music by Wang Fu-ling
Zhou Lan-ping
Cinematography Charles Tung
Chu Chia-hsin
Chang Hsin
Hua Shan
Wong Chit
T. Watanabe
Yau Kei
Editing by Chiang Hsing-lung
Fan Kung-ming
Studio Shaw Brothers Studio
Distributed by Shaw Brothers Studio
Release date(s) July 27, 1972
Running time 123 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Mandarin


CAST & Characters

Lisa Lu as She Tai-chun
  • Ivy Ling Po as Mu Kuei-ying
  • Lily Ho as Yang Wen-kuan
  • Yueh Hua as Lu Chao
  • Shu Pei-pei as Yang Pai-feng
  • Wang Ping as Yang Chiu-chu
  • Lau Ng-kei as Yang Chiu-lan
  • Karen Yip as Yang Chiu-mei
  • Li Ching as Yang Pa-mei
  • Tina Chin Fei as Tu Chin-ngo
  • Ou-yang Sha-fei as Chai Chun-chu
  • Wong Gam-fung as Ma Sai-ying
  • Betty Ting as Huang Chiung-nu
  • Teresa Ha as Tung Yueh-ngo
  • Lam Jing as Tsou Lan-ying
  • Chen Yen-yen as Ken Chin-hua
  • Chung Wa as Yang Tsung-pao
  • Fan Mei-sheng as Chiao Ting-kuai
  • Wong Chung-shun as Meng Huai-yuan
  • Cheung Ban as Yang Tsung-pao's officer
  • Goo Man-chung as Yang Hong
  • Ng Man-wa as Niu Hu
  • Tien Feng as King of West Hsia
  • Wang Hsieh as First Prince
  • James Nam as Second Prince
  • Tin Ching as Third Prince
  • Paul Chun as Fourth Prince
  • Lo Lieh as Fifth Prince
  • Yeung Chi-hing as Kou Chun
  • Cheng Miu as Wang Ching
  • Lee Siu-chung as Wang Ching's official
  • Yeung Oi-wa as Chen Chu
  • Ding Sai as Shen Ku
  • Bolo Yeung as Hsia wrestler
  • Gai Yuen as Hsia wrestler (looses fight)
  • Chan Shen as Hsia grain depot's head guard
  • Law Hon as Hsia grain depot guard
  • Nam Wai-lit as Hsia grain depot guard
  • Shum Lo as Hsia tower guard
  • Someno Yukio as Hsia soldier
  • Ren Jie as Hsia soldier
  • Kong Lung as Hsia soldier
  • Ma Ying as Hsia soldier (spear in eye)
  • Lee Ho as Hsia captive
  • Liu Wai as Hsia captive
  • Ho Wan-tai as Yang soldier who tries to blow up the dam
  • Ku Chiu-chin as Yang female soldier
  • Kwok Chuk-hing as maid
  • Tong Jing as Yang female soldier
  • Poon Oi-lun as Yang female soldier
  • Lui Saan as Yang female soldier
  • Hu Yu-hsia as Yang female soldier
  • Shen Zhi-lan as Yang female soldier
  • Hung Ling-ling as Yang female soldier
  • Chow Siu-loi as Hsia grain depot guard
  • Cheung Hei as Hsia grain depot guard
  • Tsang Choh-lam as Hsia grain depot guard/captive
  • Eric Tsang as Hsia tower guard
  • Ng Ming-choi as Hsia soldier
  • Wong Chi-ming as Hsia soldier
  • Leung Lung as Hsia soldier
  • Corey Yuen as Hsia soldier in the king's tent
  • Ricky Hui as Hsia soldier in the king's tent
  • Wang Kuang-yu as Hsia soldier who hands arrows to the Fifth Prince
  • Yi Fung as Hsia messenger in green dress
  • Sa Au as Yang soldier
  • Sham Chin-bo as Yang soldier
  • Yuen Biao as Yang soldier (in final fight)
  • Chin Chun as Wang Ching's official
  • Chai Lam as court official
  • Lu Ai-qun
  • Chui Hing-chun as soldier

 

Awards

11th Golden Horse Awards (1973)

  • Honourable Mention For Drama
  • Best Director - Cheng Kang
  • Best Supporting Actress - Lisa Lu
  • Best Sound Recording

19th Asian Film Festival (1973)

  • Outstanding Female Lead Performance - Lily Ho

 

 Source:Wikipedia

               Legendary Amazons

 

Legendary Amazons

So here it is the updated 2011 version of the 14 Amazon story.
Directed by Frankie Chan ( Prodigal son, Outlaw Brothers) ,now Frankie is not new to action and in the 80's directed quite few good films ,now some ten years since his last film duties he's back with a remake of a Shaw Brothers classic and one that's as much a costume drama as well as a action film.

How does he fare is a questionable debate. The first thing your notice about Legendary Amazons is the cast ,which is full of stars of yesteryear. With Kathy Chow,Yukari Oshima ,Cheng Pei Pei and Cecilia Cheung and Richie Chen being the main protagonists.

When the Yang Generals are wiped out in battle ,or believed so the head woman of the clan decide to go into battle to revenge for their loss of their men and General Yang Zongbao (Richie Chen) , sound familiar? . Well it should if you have watched 14 Amazons or read the review of 14 Amazons above.

Now there are some differences in the story ,as for one the Imperial officer who delivers a edict that the Yang should go into battle and lead ten thousand soldiers and that Yang Zongbao's son '' Yang Wenguang should become the Marshall and lead the party forward.

The head of the clan She Saihua ( Cheng Pei Pei ) or the Great Grandmother if you like relays that just ten thousand men is to little and that they would fight a losing battle. But until the Yang can prove there worth, further enforcements won't be sent. The Young Yang Wenguang agrees as to stop the family getting prosecuted for treason.
I must point out that in the Region 3 release of the film the English Subtitles have Cheng Pei Pei as Taichun, so if your watching that version you now know.

Now the family decide that the Young Wenguang can only go into battle if he fights his Grandmas and wins, he vows he will not fight them but would fight a younger member of the clan.

As His mother Mu Guiying the Matriarch of the family ( Cecilia Cheung) and wife of fallen general Yang Zongbao look on with the rest of the family it looks like Wenguang will be going into battle .

This is quite worrying as earlier he had been playing pranks and blew up the residence wall to escape out side. My god there going into battle with a child leading them.

This is where the film falters ,for some reason the film seems played for laugh s at points ,and what makes it more comical is the over cranking of the camera on the fight scenes ,which is more evident on the singular face off’s ( you know the ones you want to see) . The main battles scenes fair better with some quite good battles ,though they do at times look like there lacking numbers on the battlefield.,sometimes this is rectified by having CGI backgrounds of people fighting ,how do I know this ,well the blending of the CGI and the real thing is so bad that I think I could do the same effects at home on my home computer,they may even be better.

Basically the CGI in the film is such a let down it ruins the film somewhat before it's even started.
The film moves along similar to the original until we discover that Zongbao did not die ,but was rescued by some Song citizens and help him. When Wenguang gets fooled that his father is still alive ( the ,Mongols put his helmet on one of their soldiers) he rushes to free his dad,but ,his mother Mu Guiyying usurps him to protect the Yang family ( a Capitol offence ,with death as the penalty) ,but when the the Mongols attack the Yang parties get separated , Wenguang is believed to be dead after going of a cliff.

In fact he gets saved by the same Song citizens that saved his dad after getting trapped in a tree.
When he realizes his dad is alive ,he meets him and relays his failure in battle and that Mother usurped him .Now they must go and save Mu Guiying.

Heading towards the Yang army base where a Corrupt general is making the Yang family pay for their crimes.

I can't say I did not enjoy the film ,but would have enjoyed it better if say it was not based on such a prolific Shaw Brothers feature.

There is quite a lot to like at times ,i liked the way they used these props of old weapon devices ,some of which where quite intricate. Another good scene was when the ambush takes place (though it's not in the same place as the original) the Yang have to get She Saihua to safety,they run for a cave ,the Mongols send in flaming balls of fire as the Yang escape ,looking at the making of ,you can see they actually had balls of fire that stunt people ran away from (this really is 80's action) , other scenes include the filming in what looks like a desert as cranes lifted the actors on wires as rolling devices mowed them down, these devices also on wires looked devastating, and by some of the out takes where so, as injury looked evident.

I think Frankie Chan's choice in having a cast of yesteryears stars was cool,but then many of today’s stars may have not put up with the hardships of the shoot ,of which looked there where many.

I actually think Cheng Pei Pei was great as the Great Grandmother and a perfect choice ,just a shame she did not bust any moves out. The scene where they make a human bridge was not given enough thought and was lackluster to the original .i thought will they include it and when the moment approached I was on edge to see what would happen ,but it was a bit of a let down in it's approach ,i think they tried to hard to make it plausible. Which it was ,BORING!.

Legendary Amazons should be viewed as a standalone film,rented for a laugh and it's colourful costumes and famous faces. In comparing to the 14 Amazons it does not come close in it's brilliance , if only Jackie had a say in the film-making process. And I hope Frankie Chan's input on Jackie's new film ''Chinese Zodiac'' is a lot better then this .

All they had to do was get rid of the CGI stuff and film some fluid battles at normal speed and the film would have been a lot better, or get a bigger budget.

But then would you give a big budget to someone who's not made a film in more then ten years?

So Legendary Amazons , a colourful romp with familiar faces let down by poor execution.

Score out of Ten = 6
 
Review Date : 04-07-12
Sertes Nake
        Legendary Amazons Stills and Alternate Posters

 

 

             Legendary Amazons Cast and Credits
Directed by Frankie Chan
Produced by Jackie Chan
Wang Tianyun
Written by Frankie Chan
Liu Heng
Ma Honglu
Starring Cecilia Cheung
Richie Ren

Liu Xiaoqing

Cheng Pei-pei

Kathy Chow

Chen Zihan

Jin Qiaoqiao
Studio Shanghai Film Group Corporation
Feng Huang Motion Picture Co.
中视文化有限公司
Beijing Century Culture Communication Co., Ltd.
乐道文化投资有限公司
同方联合影业集团有限公司
Distributed by 上海东方影视发行公司
中国电影股份有限公司北京电影发行分公司
尚视影业
Release date(s)
  • 18 November 2011
Country China
Language Mandarin

 Cast

          Cecilia Cheung as Mu Guiying
          Richie Ren as Yang Zongbao
          Liu Xiaoqing as Princess Chai
  • Cheng Pei-pei as She Saihua
  • Kathy Chow as Ma Saiying
  • Chen Zihan as Yang Yanqi
  • Jin Qiaoqiao as Dong Yue'e
  • Xiao Mingyu as Yang Wenguang
  • Ge Chunyan as Lady Zhou
  • Oshima Yukari as Zou Lanying
  • Li Jing as Geng Jinhua
  • Yang Zitong as Meng Jinbang
  • Yu Na as Du Jin'e
  • Liu Dong as Yang Yanying
  • Zhou Xiaofei as Yang Paifeng
  • Wang Ti as Yang Jinhua
  • Zhao Qianyu as Xiaodouzi
  • Wu Ma as Imperial Tutor Pang

 source :Wikipedia

                                 Trailers

The Original 1972 Film -Full Movie

 

 

 Cine Asia Trailer for 2011 Movie

 

 

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