Golden Swallow (HK 1969)

Rating: **
Review Date: 10/2/00
Alternate Title: Girl With The Thunderbolt Kick
Director: Chang Cheh
Action Director: Liu Chia Liang (Lau Kar Leung)
Cast: Jimmy Wang Yu, Cheng Pei Pei, Lo Lieh, Wu Ma

Bland and boring. Cheng Pei Pei reprises her role as Golden Swallow in this sequel to the excellent "Come Drink With Me" (1965), but she's completely lost her edge. Her former classmate, Silver Roc (Wang Yu), is a ruthless and brooding swordsman who has been committing atrocious murders in Golden Swallow's name in a twisted attempt to get in touch with her. And when he's not out killing, he spends his time in the brothel getting drunk and pining over his love for Golden Swallow. Let's just say he's got some issues. Of course, the relatives of the slain victims come after Golden Swallow for revenge, and she and her friend Golden Whip (a surprisingly handsome and roguish Lo Lieh) are forced to seek out Silver Roc. When they meet up, the killings continue and the heroes are in way over their heads. What's worse is the rivalry between Silver Roc and Golden Whip, and they arrange to have a duel. Unfortunately, more villains show up to interrupt their duel and a shockingly bloody endgame battle ensues.

Apart from the beautiful scenery and some of the fight sequences, this film is a chore to sit through. All of the characters are uninteresting and one-dimensional, and Golden Swallow is treated as little more than traditional window dressing. A serious shame considering the overwhelming presence she had in "Come Drink With Me." Wang Yu's brooding tough guy act is extremely unconvincing, and only Lo Lieh succeeds in bringing a sparkle of life to the production. Another disappointment is in the martial arts direction. Even though kung fu master Liu Chia Liang directed the combat sequences, they seem sloppy and are poorly filmed. The film also showcases Chang Cheh's taste for sadistic violence, and is full of unpleasant scenes of graphic brutality that only serve to identify who the bad guys are. Icky. As an aside, I find it amusing that the international title of the film is "Girl With The Thunderbolt Kick," when Cheng Pei Pei hardly does any fighting and certainly doesn't ever kick anyone. That's American marketing for you.