The Valiant Ones

The Valiant Ones (Zhong lie tu) (1975)

The Valiant Ones (Zhong lie tu) is available on Blu-ray from 27 May via Eureka! Video “We didn’t know we were in the same line of business,” says a brigand who, posing as a mobile drink vendor, turns on his customers in the woods, only to be outfought by them and overpowered. In fact Colonel…

A Touch Of Zen (1971), Last Shift (2014)

A Touch of Zen/Last Shift first published by Little White Lies as the second part of my Cinema Psychotronicum column King Hu’s A Touch of Zen and Anthony DiBlasi’s Last Shift might seem literally worlds apart in terms of their provenance, period, duration and genre. After all, the former is an epic wuxia from Taiwan released in 1970…

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010)

Review first published by LWLies. To Western viewers who perhaps first encountered it in its most stylised wire-fu form through Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the popular genre of wuxia – or period martial chivalry – might seem merely an empty (albeit thoroughly entertaining) excuse for decorously mannered sensation and spectacle. In this regard, Tsui…

Dragon (Wu Xia) (2012)

Review first published by Grolsch Filmworks. Peter Ho-sun Chan’s Wu Xia (named after the Chinese genre of martial arts heroism) comes to the West with the inescapable whiff of compromise. After premiering at Cannes in 2011 to critical acclaim and winning various awards in Asia, it was purchased by the Weinsteins, shelved for well over a year,…

Reign Of Assassins

“…for all its familiar wire-fu trappings, allegorises Buddhist notions of self-transformation in a world of illusions… Throw in some inventive chopsocky tempered by romance, and a typically winning lead performance by Michelle Yeoh, and you have a fatalistic wuxia about the martial pursuit of a ‘normal life’.” My full review at EyeforFilm.