Monday, August 29, 2011

Flag of Iron aka Spearmen of Death (1980)

Flag of Iron is one of those Shaw Brothers films
that starred 'The Venoms', which in this film would
be three of the five actors that rose to great fame
due to the kung-fu classic "The Five Deadly Venoms."
(Kuo Chui, Lu Feng and Chiang Sheng). In the director's
chair would be the legendary Chang Cheh whose films
were always full of action, brotherly solidarity and
blood. And this flick is no different.

The film begins with a tense situation between two
major clans, the Iron Flag clan and the Eagles. Kuo's
character, Lo along with Iron Monkey(Sheng) have
found out that the Eagles have been running the local
brothel with kidnapped women. They bust up the joint,
which prompts a sitdown between the two clans. Before
this takes place, Chow(Feng) tells the Iron Flag brothers
that he's suspicious and has hired a mercenary fighter,
Spearman Yen Tsu(Lung Teng Hsiang)to help them in case
trouble occurs. And of course, at the dinner, the two
clans battle, and both chiefs are killed. The bigger
mystery is the death of the Iron Flag chief, in which
Yen Tsu is implicated and leaves questions as to who
will succeed him.

Back at the Iron Flag mansion, Chow is made the chief
after some dispute by Iron Monkey. A police investigation
is underway, and Lo decides to take the rap. He goes off
into exile, winding up as a servant at an inn. Time goes
by and there's no word from the clan - or any of the
money Chow promised. All of a sudden, a stranger comes
to the inn and upon seeing Lo, attacks him. Lo is of
course too good to be taken out like that and kills the
assassin. Afterward, Iron Monkey visits him and not
only tells him that he suspects Chow's gone mad with
power, but that he's been kicked out of the clan. Soon
after, it turns out Chow has not only taken over the Eagles
and all of their activities, but has also hired the "10
Killers of The Underworld" to get Lo out of the way.
Lo and Iron Monkey wind up being aided by Yen Tsu, who
admits to being used by Chow to kill the chief, to get

Flag of Iron is a bit slow in the beginning, but picks
up with non-stop action and plot twists. Kuo Chui displays
his insane skills here, especially with the flag. I'll
never look at one the same way, especially after the last
battle between him and Lu Feng. A word of advice...if
you can, get the Mandarin version with English subtitles
to watch instead of the English dubbed version. The
dialogue breaks are flat-out ridiculous. Lu Feng makes
a good villain, although his stone-face freaks me the
hell out at times. Also, Yen Tsu's sideburns are worthy
of Travolta's in 'Saturday Night Fever'!!! Definitely
a movie with repeat value.

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