Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Thunderbolt (1973)

The legendary Angela Mao gets top billing here in this Golden Harvest film from 1973. Also starring regulars James Tien and Pai Ying, it's a classic wuxia film of betrayal and vengeance.

The film starts out with Lung Chu (Mao) practicing her skills as her clan brothers, Cheng Yen Chieh(Tien) included look on. Chieh and the chief discuss the recent attempt to grab a treasure map tattooed on skin, broken up among four people. At that moment, Hung Wei (Ying)shows up and gets into the good graces of the Dragon Clan, only to demolish them. See, Pai's a member of the Black Tiger clan, and very fearsome with his spinning wheel technique. After all of this, he manages to turn the remaining clans against Chieh and Lung Chu. Both swear revenge and Lung works hard to master the deadly Thunderbolt palm to fight Hung Wei.

Now, I'll tell you flat out that this is one of those Angela Mao films that doesn't show a whole lot of her, even though she got top billing. But she makes up for that with her fighting scenes, especially her swordplay. The film can drag here and there plotwise. It's worth noting that not only has this been reputed to be the most physically demanding role with regards to wire work for Angela, she did this film right after being in 'Enter The Dragon' and she wound up suffering an injury during filming that left her in the hospital for two weeks. Also, Chen Kuan Tai, the famous Shaw Brothers actor did all of the fight choreography for this film. Another Shaw Brothers alum, Jason Piao Piao has a significant role here as the henchman to Hung Wei. Finally, you may recognize some of the theme music throughout; it's lifted from the score to the James Bond flick that premiered that same year, 'Diamonds Are Forever.' All in all, a decent watch for Angela Mao fans.

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