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Spring of Shaw Season Review

Deadly Breaking Sword - 1979


© Shaw Brothers 1979  / Celestial Pictures 2009

Spring of Shaw Season Review

Deadly Breaking Sword


Ti Lung, Alexander Fu Sheng ,Ku Feng , Shih Szu , Michael Chan Wai Man

Directed By : Sun Chung

Our second film in our Spring of Shaw Season 2015 is a film by Sun Chung and stars three of the stars from his 1978 film ''Avenging Eagle''.

But where with Avenging Eagle Ti Lung and Fu Sheng teamed up to fight Ku Feng , here Ku Feng's role is one of a underworld gangster parading as a respectful Doctor , he odes not get to much to do in the action department but there are enough stars to fill that void.

Deadly Breaking Sword is a quite a lavish looking production with heavy set costumes and a story that is quite vague at the beginning.

Ti Lung plays the main protagonist here ,Tuan Changqiung a quite bulshy sword master who mainly fights to prove his expertise , known as the Deadly Breaking Sword due to leaving a fragment of his weapon in his victims wound as a memento before they die.

He often brings a coffin for his challengers to be buried in.

But behind the persona Tuan is a man of honour and is all about his martial art and not about fighting for personal gain or wealth ,though he seems quite wealthy.

Again Fu Sheng here looks fuller in body and face then in most films ,but I thought that when watching Avenging Eagle and these where filmed nearly a year apart.

Here Fu Sheng plays Xiao Dao a gambler who gets himself in debt to the point where he loses himself to the local gambling house and ends up working for them to pay his debt.

Xiao Dao is a good fighter and handy with his small blade ,he has a acrobatic style that adds more modern feel to the choreography here compared to the more reserved traditional style of swordplay performed by Ti Lung here.

Our story surrounds the newly appointed Madam of the local brothel ( which sits next to the Gambling House Xiao Dao works in) .

Madam Liu may be the new lady but she is at the brothel for a reason , to track down the Killer Doctor a notorious Gangster who killed many with his band of thugs , Madam Liu's brother was set up by him and imprisoned and she wants revenge.

Madam Liu is played by Szu Shih a regular at Shaws and played Mei Kwei in The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires so is adept at action but here she is just the Courtesan ,looking pretty and vulnerable , what's more Madam's Liu's maid is played by Kara Hui another fighting female who here gets no action what so ever.

But it seems this film is filled with some very well known faces , some get to do some great action ,others are just doing a little more then a cameo..

The main plot is that Madam Liu tries to convince Tuan Changqing to kill the local Doctor who she is convinced is the Killer Doctor.

When this proves unsuccessful as Tuan is not interested in money and won't kill for it .Liu decides to she if she can persuade Xiao Dao to full-fill her needs.

Meanwhile a previous foe of Tuan has lived through his ordeal ,but is severely injured and seeks out Dr Guo as he hears he is the only man who can heal him from his wound.

If your wanting a coherent plot which builds up to a mighty climax then you may be let down by Deadly Breaking Sword , but for fight action the film excels ten fold.

Tuan has many battles with his challengers ,though only the one Dr Guo is treating plays any real importance to the story .

Dr Guo also finds out that Madam Liu wants his head and actually sends his assassins after her ,this actually makes for a great little battle between Xiao Dao and the assassins who include the likes of Eddy Ko and Yuen Wah.

Now being that we have Fu Sheng in this film there is amount of comedy within his role. Not just when he's fighting but also between him and the Gambling House owners daughter played by Lily Li.

You can see why NG See Yuen wanted Fu Sheng for ''Snake in Eagles Shadow and Drunken Master '' and had to settle for Jackie Chan after Shaws would not release him to work.

Of note Fu Sheng suffered a major injury on set of this film when a wire broke and he fell onto a large vase and nearly broke his back.

Deadly breaking Sword is one of those classic films you must see, it won't have you cheering all the time, the comedy sometimes breaks it up quite a bit ,even though it is only light comedy and not slap stick or anything to crazy.

Also the appearance of so many great martial art stars which actually do very little to nothing in the action stakes is a let down when you notice someone only to find they don't have any action scenes.

Lucky enough though our main villain here may be the evil Dr Guo aka Killer Doctor but our heroic duo's main foe here is the very man the Doctor has healed , Tuan's former adversary Lian San played here by the brilliant Chan Wai Man ( Project A pt2, The Club), so the main fight action won't disappoint.

But if you have not seen Avenging Eagle by the same director , I would suggest viewing that first as it is a far superior film all round .

The version reviewed was the Region 1 NTSC DVD with Mandarin and English Dubbed soundtrack . The film is the Celestial pictures print in widescreen 2:35.1 and comes with a photo gallery of stills from the film.

It was on the Image DVD label..

Review Date :March 17th 2015

Review By: Sertes Nake


Posters and Stills


Name : Tommy Tam Fu Wing 

Stage Name : Ti Lung

Born : August 1946

Martial arts : Wing Chun 

First Film : Return of the One Armed Swordsman

Award winning actor who found fame at the Shaw Brothers Studio where he started in 1968




Directed by Sun Chung
Produced by Run Run Shaw
Screenplay by Ni Kuang
Starring Ti Lung
Alexander Fu Sheng
Shih Szu
Ku Feng
Michael Chan Wai Man
Lily Li
Music by Frankie Chan
Joseph Koo
Cinematography Cho On-sun
Lam Ngai Kai
Edited by Chiang Hsing-lung
Yu Siu-fung
Shaw Brothers Studio
Distributed by Shaw Brothers Studio
Release dates
12 April 1979
Running time

101 minutes

106 Minutes - Celestial Pictures Remaster R1 release

Country Hong Kong


English Dubbed


 Character Cast


Ti Lung as Tuan Changqing aka the Deadly Breaking Sword

Alexander Fu Sheng as Xiao Dao

Shih Szu as Liu Yinxu

Ku Feng as Dr. Guo Tiansheng aka  the Killer Doctor

Michael Chan Wai Man as Lian San, the Throat Piercing Halberd

Lily Li as Luo Jinhua

Shum Lo as Boss Luo

Chan Shen as Officer Fan Fei

Ngai Fei as Chen Yinggang

Teresa Ha as Madam Li Xing

Kara Hui as Xiaoqin

Keung Hon as Dr. Guo's Henchmen

Eddy Ko as Dr. Guo's Henchmen

Ng Hong-sang as Dr. Guo's Henchmen

Yuen Wah as Dr. Guo's Henchmen

Chow Kin-ping as Dr. Guo's Henchmen

Austin Wai as Sword Spirits  (red)

Yuen Bun as Sword Spirits  (gold)




Stills from this classic film from Sun Chung and Starring Ti Lung and Alexander Fu Sheng.Full review and more pictures on site at www.kickemintheghoulies.com/deadlybreakingswordsb.htm

Posted by Kick'em in the Ghoulies on Friday, 3 April 2015



Shaw Brothers action with Ti Lung and Alexander Fu Sheng in this great film by Sun Chung. Full review and even more...

Posted by Wuxian Pian Movies on Friday, 3 April 2015


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