The Golden Knight (HK 1970)

Rating: **
Review Date: 2/28/17
Cast: Lily Ho, Shu Pei Pei

A masked bandit is attacking various clans and stealing their martial arts secrets, and a young woman named Yu Fei-hsia (Lily Ho) is a prime suspect. She manages to escape her death sentence and sets out to prove her innocence (and maybe get a little revenge along the way). She spends the majority of the film unconvincingly disguised as a man, which fools everyone except the audience. This is my least favorite Hong Kong storytelling convention, but at least I was able to recognize it early on and adjust my perspective accordingly. The "big reveal" is laughable, and simply involves Yu letting her hair down. Gasp! Who would have ever guessed it was her the whole time? The true mastermind behind it all is obvious from the start, even with all of the complicated plot diversions. The action scenes are pretty weak, and the villain's protracted death scene is hilariously awful.

Despite the film's shortcomings and genre trappings, Lily Ho is marvelous throughout and her performance is fascinating. She's extremely charming and her beautifully expressive face lights up the entire screen with vivacious energy. She's not a great fighter, but she manages to hold her own and knows how to strike a menacing pose. A fun time for fans of the girl fu genre, but more discerning viewers may want to look elsewhere.