Monday, August 12, 2013

Good to be the King

King Eagle (1971) is a classic Shaw Brothers Hong Kong kung fu movie. It starts with the betrayal of one of the Tien Yi Tong leaders by another. Someone escapes to bring word of this treachery to the council, but only gets to tell a wandering kung fu hero before he dies.

This hero, King Eagle, (Ti Lung) doesn't want to get involved. He tells the bad guys again and again that it isn't his business, but they try first to kill him, then to co-opt him. Neither works, and the beautiful but deadly master played by Ching Lee can't seduce him - he doesn't even notice her.

But later on he meets her beautiful and good sister, also played by Ching Lee. Although they look identical, because she is good, he falls for her. Now his neutrality is over, now he now wants to get involved. Now, he is pissed.

I don't think this is the greatest Shaw Brothers, but it does have a few great spots - the dual role for Ching Le, some neat weapons like the claw fingers, sharp-edged shields and leopard paw, decent fights. Actually, the fights were kind of middle-of-the-road, with some silly wirework, some pointless jumping around, etc. But King Eagle is a great character - a reclusive loner who doesn't want to get involved, but is unstoppable if you push him. Very Clint Eastwood. Even with the cheesecloth hairpiece.

No comments: