Director: Chang Cheh
Writer: Chang Cheh, Tu Yun Chih
Producer: Runme Shaw
Cast: Jimmy Wang Yu, Cheng Pei Pei, Chiu Sam Yin (Chao Hsin-Yen), Yeung Chi Hing (Yang Chih-Ching), Lo Lieh, Wu Ma, David Chiang, Lau Kar Wing, Cheng Miu, Lam Kau, Guk Fung (Ku Feng)
Running Time: 104 mins.
By Mighty Peking Man
Golden Swallow is the sequel to King Hu’s 1966 masterpiece, Come Drink With Me. Chang Cheh takes over the director’s chair and transforms Hu’s classic theatrical-style flick into an extravaganza of extreme violence, comic book-like gore, and larger-than-life characters with invincible powers way beyond belief. Fans of Chang Cheh’s most colorful blood-filled films, such as Return One-Armed Swordsman and Five Element Ninjas, are guaranteed to get an equal kick out of this one.
Golden Swallow (which was also known by its less than fitting title, The Girl With The Thunderbolt Kick) revolves around the further adventures of its title character, Golden Swallow (Cheng Pei Pei). This time around, she’s forced into action when a figure from her mysterious past goes on a killing rampage. What’s really pissing Golden Swallow off is the fact the unknown killer intentionally leaves evidence that points the blame to her.
Golden Swallow also makes room for a heartfelt love triangle involving a mad, but righteous swordsman named Silver Roc (Jimmy Wang Yu) and a gentle warrior named Golden Whip (Lo Lieh). The three team up to conquer the evil forces of the martial world, but their joint venture only lasts so long, due to the two men’s virile egos. Ultimately, a duel to the death is planned between them, leaving Golden Swallow caught between two men, both of whom she admires.
Chang Pei Pei and Lo Lieh get a good chunk of screen time, but despite the title, the movie belongs to Jimmy Wang Yu. Fresh off the tremendous success of One-Armed Swordsman, it’s a spotlight that’s well-deserved.
The well-choreographed swordplay, high body count, and bloody slaughter is nearly all-you-can-eat. I’m sure Chang Cheh was questioned about the syrup budget for the buckets and buckets of fake blood needed for some of the full-scale battles. He also seemed to be testing the limits of his own gutsiness by using the honor and loyalty of his characters (including small children) as an excuse to outdo one gore scene after another. Believe me, that’s a good thing.
Even though Golden Swallow is mostly brutal, it’s beautifully executed and uses Shaw Scope to its full potential. It’s also hard not to take notice of the exuberant soundtrack, which hints a catchy melancholic score reminiscent of Japanese swordplay films and Italian Westerns.
Like the One-Armed Swordsman series, Golden Swallow defines what a Chang Cheh movie is all about.
Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 8/10