Film Review: Flag of Iron (1980) by Chang Cheh

The Venom collection directed by Chang Cheh are a cycle of martial motion footage that present his development from one which crafted among the masterpieces of the Shaw Brothers period to at least one that was seeing how far he may go by way of pure leisure. “Flag of Iron” while not as well-known as “5 Lethal Venoms” or as politically incorrect (as it might be deemed now) as “Crippled Avengers” nonetheless sees the staff on the peak of their prowess and so, as soon as once more, I’m letting that acquainted emblem play and see what lies in retailer.

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Lo (Phillip Kwok) and Iron Monkey defeat a number of members of the Flying Eagle Clan who’re concerned with a playing den and different unlawful actions. Their grasp, together with their large brother Chow Feng (Lu Feng) resolve that they need to cope with the Flying Eagle clan when they’re invited to a gathering that’s clearly a entice. Chow Feng brings the white robed wanderer (Lung Tien-Hsaing) as their again up. Within the confrontation, their grasp is killed and Lo is satisfied to enter hiding because the scapegoat because the Iron Flag clan elect Chow Feng as their new chief. Someday later, Iron Monkey discovers Lo working at an inn. He informs him that Chow Feng has taken over the Flying Eagle clan as nicely and is concerned deeply of their actions. Eager to consider his good friend however reluctant to simply accept his large brothers’ betrayal, To investigates additional. Mates change into enemies and allies emerge from sudden locations as the reality emerges and a closing confrontation should happen.

The character of the white robed wanderer is a way more attention-grabbing one than we’d usually anticipate to see in a Chang Cheh film of this period. Upon preliminary look, he could as nicely have a large signal above his head going “villain” and so will not be a lot of a shock when he does become an murderer. Nonetheless, there are precise layers right here. Upon discovering he has been used, he helps our heroes within the quest for revenge however is absolutely conscious that by killing their grasp they may search to combat him as soon as that is over. Even along with his love curiosity he makes her conscious he’s not somebody she ought to observe. It performs into the standard stereotypical questioning knight that we see so typically, that of a person whose code of honour finally brings about his doom. The distinction being that is primarily a villain with that very same code.

We additionally get a extra cerebral major villain with Chow Feng, who’s beautifully performed by Lu Feng. He’s a grasp politician who masks his deviousness with a veneer of civility, manipulating all of these round him. His preliminary corrupting of the police by providing them an answer to keep away from issue after the grasp’s loss of life is simply the tip of the place he’ll head. It additionally offers the character of Lo a bit extra depth as, regardless of desirous to consider Iron Monkey’s phrases, he finds himself conflicted as he struggles to come back to phrases with that his personal martial large brother could be behind all of it. It offers a properly cynical viewpoint to the world of martial cinema the place the thought of righteousness is simply floor gloss. Philip Kwok as per regular within the Venom films will get to take the lead as Lo and brings his common athleticism to the half. Chiang Sheng will get much less to do however holds his personal bodily.

The combat chorography is a bit of totally different right here, simply to freshen issues up. We get the usual and hidden weapons that frequent the latter Chang Cheh work, however we additionally get DIY weaponry too as chairs, plates and so forth. are tailored to cope with the scenario in hand. The primary murderer will get a very messy loss of life (Chang Cheh positively had some points that he wanted to work out by way of discovering ever extra violent methods to kill his antagonists). As we’d discover with the Venom collection of movies, the motion makes essentially the most of their attributes and when the confrontations come, they’re fluid and nicely shot in a transparent improvement from the sooner extra stilted sequences that might be a part of the director’s earlier work. The trademark man will get mortally wounded however wraps his shirt round his waste motif is right here, as is the digital lack of feminine presence. As with most, the plot is purposeful, it’s the little further additions that make it extra intriguing. Chang Cheh’s prodigious output meant generally it was clear when there was an absence of curiosity. This by no means happens right here mercifully and so get a bit extra to work on.

One thing that doesn’t normally get talked about in these options is the usage of formal language. Everybody is aware of one another and acknowledges their moderately flowery named aliases. To the uninitiated, this seems moderately odd however is a staple of martial arts fiction. It could additionally make the dialogue really feel moderately stilted. It turns into barely comical at one level as the ten Assassins are despatched to cope with Lo just for him to establish them. They change a short dialog. Then he kills them with a numerous implements that comes at hand. They fail so spectacularly that you simply begin to ask if there’s a refund coverage.

As with every Venom film, you’ll both love the continuous motion and ignore the slight storyline or detest the film when you want one thing extra substantial. If you’re within the latter class, then chances are high you most likely not likely going to be watching these films anyway. Test realism on the door, ignore the plot and simply take pleasure in a collection of well-crafted motion sequences. Nice enjoyable.

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