The Lady Assassin (HK 1982)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 10/15/00
Cast: Norman Chu (Tsui Siu Keung), Wang Lung Wei, Liu Hsueh-hua, Ku Feng, Max Mok, Yuen Tak

A long-winded, but enjoyable Shaw Brothers kung fu romp. Once again, the Ching emperor is about to die, and all of his sons are scheming and fighting to ensure who is going to inherit the throne. Naturally, the nastiest of the bunch succeeds by stealing the imperial edict and altering it. However, in the process of obtaining the throne, the new emperor has made a lot of enemies and now they're all coming back for retribution. These include a master swordsman (Norman Chu) and his two female aides, an old scholar, and his two lovely daughters. One of his daughters (adorable Liu Hsueh-hua) is extremely cute and is an excellent martial artist. (she also appeared in "Holy Flame Of The Martial World" (1983) as a villain) I'm guessing that she's the "lady assassin" of the title, since she's determined to kill the new emperor for his wrongdoings. After a bloody assault on the royal palace, she finally gets her man (and splits him right down the middle...).

The kung fu is fast and furious in this film, and is a lot of fun to watch. Only in the last thirty minutes do things start to get really silly with the introduction of some Japanese ninja and some silly ninja nonsense. One of them even has a boomerang shuriken that's about a foot in diameter. Similar to "Holy Flame Of The Martial World," the hyperkinetic fight scenes are undercranked to the point of absurdity and there is liberal use of soft focus and star filters. Enjoyable kung fu fluff that can cause a mental meltdown if you're not prepared for all of the sanity barriers that it knocks down.

Added Thoughts (11/22/09): Much to my astonishment, I already reviewed this film nine years ago. This is the first time that I've watched a movie twice and had absolutely NO recollection of having seen it before. Not even a single hint of recognition. I find that very disturbing...