Thursday, March 12, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Blood Brothers (1973)

No one has time for kung fu treachery in this life, unless it's part of your kung fu cinema regimen.  If you're like me, you know that the greatest kung fu flicks of all time fall under one of two categories: 1) films starring Bruce Lee, and 2) films from the Shaw Brothers.  Yeah, I'm thinking that Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais are working on creating a third category for me, but we're not there just yet.  Regardless, I watched Blood Brothers in Shaw Scope this weekend and had a great time with it.  It was rather grim and the ending was a major bummer, but it was pretty obvious we were heading in that direction from the opening frame.  The usual grand sets, colorful costumes, and incredible choreography were all on display, but if you know the Shaw Brothers, you knew that already.  The story was compelling and the three leads (David Chiang, Lung Ti, and Kuan Ti Chen) all did a remarkable job with both the acting and the chops and kicks that Blood Brothers required of them.  There was a strange emphasis on dudes rolling down hills in slow-motion (this didn't happen once or twice--it was more like five to ten times) that I didn't completely understand, but it was still a quality kung fu flick.  I loved David Chiang's work with the triple staff and Lung Ti really stole the show as the "brother" whose lust for power (and Kuan Ti Chen's lovely wife) eventually turned the three men against one another.  It wasn't in the upper echelon of movies c/o of the Shaw Brothers (Five Deadly Venoms, Crippled Avengers, Five Shaolin Masters), but it was definitely worthwhile.

Bonus points: whoever did the subtitles on the version I watched certainly played it fast and loose.  There were numerous scenes where the subtitles didn't make a damn bit of sense.  Also, (and this shouldn't have been funny but it was) the female lead was frequently referred to as "bitch" or "the bitch" and I'm pretty sure these references weren't actual translations of what was being said. 

Final Grade: C+
Dude in the middle (Lung Ti) looks like an asshole, doesn't he? 
This isn't one of those examples of how looks can be deceiving.

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