Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vengeance Of A Snow Girl (Bing Tian Xia Nu, 1971)

Next up on Hai!Karate, we've got a revenge epic from Shaw Brothers for review entitled Vengeance Of a Snow Girl! This action piece from 1970 stars the lovely Li Ching, Yueh Hua and Ku Feng. Handling direction is Lo Wei, in his final picture before venturing out to be the main director for Golden Harvest and Raymond Chow. More on that in a bit.

Vengeance Of A Snow Girl opens with Shen Bing-Hong (Ching),a young woman who is crippled, showing off the famous Jade Phoenix Sword hidden in one of her jade crutches. She encounters Gao Tin-Ying(Hua)and finds out about a nobleman named Ge. She shows up at his mansion and reveals that she was the daughter left behind when Ge and two other swordsmen killed her parents years ago in attempts to get the Jade Phoenix Sword. She hid in a pool of freezing water to escape, which led to her infirmity. Bing Hong then kills him, setting off a chain of events that involve high drama and adventure in this revenge saga.

This is a classic wuxiafilm here. It shows off Lo Wei's flair for employing a good mix of fight action and drama. There's also a martial arts film Easter Egg or two here as far as cameos. James Tien has a key role as the Prince of Pin Nan's son in the film, but he also has a bigger contribution as the action director for the film. This would prove to be his only time handling such duties, but it proves to be real valuable. The fight scenes are enthralling as a result and Li Ching looks like the hellion Bing Hong is supposed to be. Also, look out for Sammo Hung in one of the earlier fight scenes. Yueh Hua as the noble Gao Tin-Ying finds himself in a role that's almost one-dimensional. This is just as he was approaching the peak of his glory with Shaw as a dapper leading man with depth. Chiao Chiao also seems trapped by her role as a spiteful daughter of one of the villains. Now as good as this film is, bear in mind there are a few drawbacks. One, having to believe that Bing Hong, who is crippled, can magically LEAP INTO THE AIR with no problem. If you've watched this genre of film, you can handle it better. Also, there's a scene where Bing Hong and Tin Ying have to go into the heart of a volcano. They wind up getting armor that makes them look like they're going to go hit a Funkadelic concert after everything's done. You also will find a lot of dialogue, but the film's key moments come in the latter half. If you want a good revenge drama to fill a quiet evening, Vengeance Of A Snow Girl can fit the bill.