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Hong Kong, 2004 (MIFF 2004, Hidden Hero The Films of Chang Cheh)

Director: Chang Cheh

Vengeance (Baochou) Hong Kong

Take John Boorman's classic revenge drama Point Blank and transplant it to northern China in 1925. After Chinese opera player Guan Yulou is murdered by a group of criminal conspirators, his brother Xiaolou (David Chiang) arrives in town to wage a one-man war against those responsible. In Chang Cheh's first modern action film swords are replaced by knives and guns, and this film owes as much to Sam Peckinpah as it does to martial arts history.

The film is not without a sense of humour and sophistication; a particularly nasty thug is despatched with his pipe, and brother Yulou has to pull out a meat cleaver embedded in his own stomach when he runs out of weapons! The jazz-noir soundtrack gives way to crazed psychedelia for the moments of deliciously unrestrained carnage.

The embodiment of cool, David Chiang starred in numerous Chang Cheh masterpieces. Here he comes across like a cross between Rat Pack'era Frank Sinatra and Sean Connery's James Bond, with a mean streak as wide as the Yangtze River.

'This is easily one of Chang's best-looking films. Without missing a beat, David Chiang walks into town and immediately begins getting revenge the only way he knows how, by killing every S.O.B. who had anything to do with his brother's death.'

D Chang Cheh P Run Run Shaw S Ni Kuang WS Celestial Pictures L Mandarin w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/1970/98mins

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