Broken Oath (HK 1977)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 2/17/01
Martial Arts Choreography: Yuen Woo Ping
Music: Frankie Chan
Cast: Angela Mao, Kao Cheng Yu, cameo by Samo Hung

Whew! Kind of slow, but a real treat for fans of Angela Mao, the undisputed Queen of Kung Fu. The story is a blatant rip-off of "Lady Snowblood" (1973), where a woman goes to prison while trying to avenge her husband's murder and eventually gives birth to a daughter who is destined to walk the bloody path of vengeance. The daughter is angelic Angela Mao, and she is sent to a Buddhist monastery after her mother dies in labor. After twenty years she has learned a good deal of kung fu and wishes to learn why such hatred and desire to kill burns in her heart. When she learns of her parents' sad fate, she determines to kill the bandits who were responsible. With the aid of several others, she manages to take them all out one by one, with the film ending as the final man falls.

As you would expect from Woo Ping and Angela Mao, the kung fu is excellent. Angela's form is lovely and she performs some nice sword and spear work. She tears up the screen with her unflinching intensity and defiant beauty, and I never grow tired of watching her spinning kicks! One of the spies who ends up helping her is a fantastic martial artist (Kao Cheng Yu?) and his quick and fierce performance is arguably the best of the bunch. Nice work! A ridiculous looking Samo Hung also shows up as a generic villain who gets pounded on by Angela for a few minutes. Great stuff for kung fu buffs, but just what is the "broken oath" of the title?