Film Review: Executioners from Shaolin (1977) by Liu Chia-liang

Following a number of basic style efforts in a row, director Liu Chia-liang determined to go for a extra escapist style effort after making an attempt to discover the self-discipline and coaching techniques employed in a number of of his earlier movies. Taking his hand at the usual ‘avenging-the-fallen-master’ stereotype storyline whereas mixing collectively slapstick comedy, romance, and some coaching montage cues from his earlier movies, he presents up a enjoyable and pleasing moviet in “Executioners from Shaolin” which is now obtainable as a part of the Shawscope Vol. 1 boxset obtainable from Arrow Video.

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Difficult the outdated guard, martial arts grasp Pai Mei (Lo Lieh) and his disciples assault the Shaolin temple, wreaking havoc together with his undefeatable methods and sending the scholars scattering in humiliation. When Hung Hsi-kuan (Chen Kaun-tai) stumbles upon a touring performer troupe, he decides to cover on the market, ultimately assembly and falling in love with Fang Yung-chun (Lily Li), one other performer within the troupe. Because the years go by after which have Hung Wen-ting (Wong Yue), they determine to meld their very own martial arts types collectively to defeat the evil Pai Mei when he returns to settle the rating towards the interlopers.

There’s rather a lot to love and dislike with “Executioners.” One of many stronger elements right here is the effective storytelling that brings collectively a slew of parts right into a singular complete. The early setup involving the assault on the temple and its members is a effective sufficient setup to let the preventing have some urgency, whereas there’s a pleasant quantity of comedy to rise between Hsi-kuan and Yung-chen whereas hiding out within the performing troupe. When the son Wen-ting enters the image and we get the same old revenge trope, the connection made right here regarding how Wen-ting is used to complete the work of Hsi-kuan to cease the evil grasp by forcing him to study to mix their martial arts types makes for a well-rounded round storyline. Protecting these adjustments to the storyline with every of those seemingly disparate parts flowing along with sufficient preventing blended in for motion, permits for a typically enjoyable time total.

As talked about, the preventing is enjoyable and usually fast-paced sufficient to be fairly thrilling. With Pai Mei launching the assault on the very starting, exhibiting off his unbeatable skillset but additionally introducing the idea of his skill to change his weak level round his physique at will, he’s suitably formidable and imposing. The remainder of the assault on the assorted college students can also be fairly pleasing with the brutality and bloodshed unleashed giving an indication of their deviant nature to spherical off the necessity for revenge years later towards viable villains. The preventing montages and battles that comply with aren’t dangerous for what they ar,e since they’ve been included in quite a few style movies total however serve their objective adequately till the ultimate showdown. The frantic vitality and dynamic choreography is sufficient to ship them off on a excessive observe, giving “Executioners” rather a lot to love.

There are some drawbacks available right here. The primary disappointing characteristic in “Executioners” is the pacing that comes from this scattershot collection of influences which are introduced collectively in the primary storyline from author Kuang Ni. Zipping round between the assorted plot factors, together with the destruction and scattering of the temple and its members, the group hiding out within the performing troupe ultimately resulting in a romance between Hsi-kuan and Yung-chen which is then interrupted by the start of Wen-ting, all make the center of the movie considerably of a slough to get by means of. Requiring him to be aged up sufficient in order that he’s sufficient of a problem to the villain Pai Mei means the construction skips round as effectively, making Hsi-kuan far older than he was earlier than so his fights are designed to get the son concerned because the one to lastly unseat their foe. It’s all fairly slipshod and scattered round to the purpose the place that’s turns into fairly underwhelming every now and then

As effectively, there are a number of different slight components that carry this down. With the stubbornness and totally pig-headed view of his son studying just one model of martial arts and failing to see why realizing a number of techniques can be useful, Hsi-kuan is a quite unlikeable and worsening result in comply with and aspect with. That’s very true when it pronounces that combining each to defeat him is completed with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. The sight of Pai Mei dragging round his opponent by the leg with their foot caught in his crotch on account of a devious tactic he’s mastered is extra comical than scary. Lastly, the ending is kind of merely essentially the most abrupt and quick-cut-to-credits ever within the style the place it’s a shock to appreciate it truly occurred with barely any time to acknowledge what’s occurring.

That includes some strong martial arts motion however considerably stumbling with regards to another elements, “Executioners” supplies a genuinely enjoyable time if falling slightly below the extent of the studio’s classics from the identical time. Followers of the studio’s output or the style as a complete could have rather a lot to love right here.

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