Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lady Whirlwind (Tie Zhang Xuan Feng Tui, 1972)

We've got another film here for you kung-fu fanatics! Next up is an early Angela Mao Ying vehicle, Lady Whirlwind. This flick from Golden Harvest studios also earned her the nickname taken from the film's title. The movie also stars studio regulars Chang Yi, Pai Ying, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo and Liu Ah-Na.

The flim begins in a rough stretch of Chinese back country. Ling Shih-hua (Yi) is getting his ass royally kicked by Japanese mobsters led by Pai Ying's character. They leave him for dead by the river, where he is then found and rescued by Xua Xua(June Wu). Ling vows to take revenge as he's nursed back to health, and he and Xua Xua fall in love. Meanwhile, the mobsters' casino in town has a visitor with more on her mind than gambling. Tien Li-Chun(Mao Ying) is dead set on finding Ling and winds up busting up the casino and its boss (Sammo) in the process. She reveals that Ling abandoned her sister three years ago after she became pregnant with his child. That loss led her to commit suicide. Miss Tien swore revenge. Her pursuit of justice for her sister reaches a fever pitch and lands her in the middle of a conflict between Ling and the mobsters. Ling begs her to spare him until he can take revenge, to which she agrees. And then Ling gets beaten nearly to death AGAIN, being rescued by Miss Tien. He manages to come across an older man in the forest who teaches him Tai Chi and thus armed, goes out to settle things once and for all with everyone.

Lady Whirlwind is a cool flick. It is fast-paced, clocking in under ninety minutes and that does impact the film. You may get confused a bit by the plot merges. And Ling getting repeatedly rescued like that does make you scratch your head. Still, Angela Mao is the one that makes this film lively. You get to see her style in a semi-raw phase, arms flailing wildly but still powerful enough to lay the beatdown on any contenders. There are a few bloody scenes here and there, mostly within the final half-hour of the film. If you can, catch the original Mandarin version of the film as released by Fortune Star. It's not that the dubbed version is bad, but there are some odious moments(the scene where Ling repeats Xua Xua's name over and over for 5 minutes? UGH). All in all, Lady Whirlwind is an okay actioner made entertaining by the great Angela Mao.(Side note: the alternate title of the film? Deep Thrust. Which made for a bit of confusion when shown in grindhouse theaters in the States.)

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