Brothers Five (HK 1970)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 7/12/20
Director: Lo Wei
Cast: Cheng Pei-Pei, Yueh Wah, Chang Yi, Lo Lieh, Tien Feng, cameo by Samo Hung

"Using secret weapons against me? What a fool!"

Five brothers who were raised separately and have no knowledge of each other must join forces to avenge their father who was murdered by the ruler of Flying Dragon Villa (Tien Feng). A young woman named Miss Yan (Cheng Pei-Pei) facilitates the process and has her own grudge against the bad guys. It's pretty standard Shaw Brothers kung fu fare, but the fights are fun and plentiful, and involve hundreds of people. The final assault is surprisingly long and exhausting, which can be tedious for those who aren't accustomed to the genre. The fight scenes are quite good and exhibit excellent choreography and camera work, complex stunt work, solid performances, and some nice blood effects throughout. A few shots are spoiled by bad wire work, simulated darkness, and undercranked action, but overall it's a delight. Cheng Pei-Pei is charming, but even though she has star billing, she has precious little to do. She's only in a handful of fights, and her best one is actually a training sequence with the five brothers. The various martial arts techniques are interesting to watch, and one character has a wickedly cool folding sword. The other weapons tend to favor the absurd, with a razor-edged hat and a deadly calligraphy brush. Fans of classic kung fu should be pleased.