Clan Of The White Lotus (HK 1979)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 9/5/05
Director: Lo Lieh
Martial Arts Choreography: Liu Chia Liang (Lau Kar Leung)
Cast: Liu Chia Hui (Gordon Liu), Lo Lieh, Wang Lung, Wei Ying Hung, Hsiao Ho

Essentially a remake of "Executioners Of Shaolin" (1976), this film follows Hung Man Ting's (Gordon Liu) quest to kill the sinister White Lotus Priest (Lo Lieh as the classic white-haired villain). His Shaolin tiger and crane styles are no match for the old man, so he escapes and learns embroidery kung fu from his sister in-law (entrancing Wei Ying Hung). While his women's kung fu skills allow him to get close enough to touch the priest, he still can't hit his fatal spot. Narrowly escaping with his life once again, Man Ting learns acupuncture and goes after the priest one last time. With his combined skills of tiger and crane fist, embroidery fist, and acupuncture, Man Ting finally manages to kill the old geezer, but by the end of the movie, Man Ting's motives seem lost.

As you would expect, Gordon Liu is fantastic and his exchanges with Wang Lung are superb. Lo Lieh makes a good villain, but is so super-powered that his fight scenes aren't very interesting. Wei Ying Hung plays a supporting role, but watching her teach and spar with Gordon Liu is utterly intoxicating. Her movements are sheer poetry, smooth and seductive. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the film is bogged down by lame attempts at slapstick humor, which quickly becomes tiresome. But there's just enough kung fu goodness to make the journey worthwhile.