Friday, July 24, 2009

"The Deadly Breaking Sword"(1979)d/Sun Chung

Dust off your Tiger Fork,practice your internal breath control,and meditate upon another Saturday of wild and wooly wushu here,you pious bastards!There'll be time enough for girls later.This afternoon the high-kicking hijinks come from the superior cinematic skills of director Sun Chung,of Avenging Eagle fame,working with the legendary Shaws,and focusing his lens upon the boxing and dramatic skills of none less than the regal Ti Lung(Drunken Master 2,Five Shaolin Masters,Ten Tigers of Kwantung), and the impish favorite Fu Sheng(Heroes Shed No Tears,Heaven and Hell,Chinatown Kid),unfurling a tapestry of traditional wushu styles,long-awaited revenge,and noble martial heroes who befriend gambling vagabonds.Fix yourself a plate of sesame chicken,pour yourself a cup of tea,and read on.This one's gonna be good.
Thrust and a miss!Lian-san's throat-piercing halberd misses its mark.
Tuen Cheng-Tsin(Ti Lung)is the titular "Deadly Breaking Sword",a fighter who's honed his pugilistic skills to a level of perfection so potent,that he brings along coffins to each martial duel for his opponents,who to this point,die with an inch of famous sword broken off somewhere between their shoulder blades.His latest challenger,Lian-san(Chan-wai man) has a rep all his own,as "The Throat-Piercing Halberd"(I've pierced a few throats in my heyday with my own personal halberd,but I'll save those stories for another time)a man responsible for more than a hundred deaths.Both men injure each other,with Lian-san taking the obligatory inch of the breaking sword in the chest,but rather than dramatically slumping into the coffin that Tuen has prepared for him,he rides off,mortally injured,to call upon the skills of "The Killer Doctor"(Ku Feng),who with dazzling acupuncture technique,cheats death of another victim.Enter Xiao Dao(Fu Sheng),the "Little Dagger"(does everybody have a crazy nickname in this movie or what?)who has foolishly gambled himself away at the gambling house,in a half-baked attempt to clear his debts,now forced into living there permanently,serving the owner and his niece,who secretly has the hots for him.When Tuen majestically rides into town,a talented prostitute(aren't they all?)also appears on the scene,looking to hire the breaking sword to add the Killer Doctor to his list of vanquished opponents as revenge for letting her brother rot in a stinking cell in a neighboring town.
Xiao Dao's not lucky in dominos OR dames.
The hooker hires Xiao to try and lure Tuen to the brothel to hear her sobbiest of stories,but when Tuen proves too haughty("What a snobbish bitch!" he says),she turns to the Little Dagger to do her dirty work instead,her silver tails as a means of the young fool buying himself out of his debt.The niece does her best to keep Xiao grounded at the gambling house,eventually getting herself chucked down a well(!)when she burns his greenbacks!That'll teach ya,woman!Tuen and Xiao square off in the street with the Breaking Sword warning that the young man's martial skills aren't on par with the job he's agreed to do,and after offering to double Dagger's money if he doesn't fight the doctor,the two men become friends.Tuen breaks the call girl's brother out of the pokey,and then has the inmate finger his doublecrosser,leading the Killer Doctor to kill the poor bastard with accupuncture pins,signalling the showdown between Tuen,and newly revitalized Lian-san,whose hair has turned white and red,due to the side effects of the doctor's treatments.During their fight,the two men injure each other again,but when Tuen's sword breaks off in Lian's chest,the Doctor abruptly shoves accupuncture needles in the pugilist's back,giving him the martial power to finish the fight!Xiao Dao shows up,despite his friend's warnings,mocks Tuen AND Lian,and with his short dagger bests the zany-haired assassin until, in a moment of carelessness,is shanked in the labonza with his Throat-Piercing Halberd.Tuen takes this opportunity to bear hug the bastard from behind,pulling the needles out of his back with his teeth(!),and sending him off to meet his maker.He then takes the dead man's halberd and throws it fifty feet directly into the back of the diabolical doctor,killing him too.Xiao,mortally wounded,asks for nice clothes to wear in his coffin,and when Tuen reaches for his hand,misses,as his young friend dies on the street.
Tuen uses his martial skill to teach Xiao a lesson in money management.
All the elements of a Kung Fu classic are in place here.The breathtaking cinematography we've come to expect from Chung,the dazzling traditional fight choreography of Wong Pau Gei(not much wire fu going on here,Jet Li fans,you'll have to go elsewhere for your kung phoniness),and stalwart performances from both leads and both villains,respectively.Ti Lung was losing popularity prior to this picture,and I can't help scratching my head over that fact.The guy's fighting skills are superb,his acting is top tier,and his screen presence is undeniable,as always.Fu Sheng,on the other hand,was at the height of his own popularity,and showcases exactly why that was the case here,his slapstick and physical comedy on par with Jacky Chan,his lovable personality translating well once again on camera,and his fighting,top notch as well.All in all,if you're a proponent of the chop socky period piece,or simply a fan of great Shaw Brothers movies,you'll do well to pick up the region 3 disc and give it a chance.On the Deadly Rating Scale,this classic earns all four Wops,and is recommended viewing.
The "finger game" I know involves the back seat of a vintage muscle car,a luscious concubine,and of course, yours truly.

1 comment:

viagra said...

I this one of the best Asian movies I have seen in my life because it was made with other sense, the producers were in the correct sense to creating exactly what they wanted.m10m

Connect with Facebook