Shanghai 13 [1984]

Nearing the end of his long and illustrious career, director Chang Cheh had his formula for making his movies down. In this film, he gathers all his actors from the 60ís and 70ís, casting them in a thriller that takes place in the time of the Nanking Authority and the treachery surrounding it. For extra box office appeal, Chang concedes to a sequence featuring then newcomer Andy Lau who, as we all know now, became a huge international star just like his co-stars did in the previous decades. Some bad-ass fighting scenes feature unique death blows, as well as Changís requisite slow motion action. At the end, it seemed to this viewer that it was difficult to transfer Sung Dynasty heroism and chivalry to a story of anti-Japanese espionage.

Copyright © 2009 John Crawford. All rights reserved.