Lady Of The Law (HK 1975)

Rating: **
Review Date: 12/9/07
Cast: Lo Lieh, Shih Szu

A lackluster outing of corruption, betrayal, and revenge. A crafty businessman kills his main competition, but his competitor's son is spared when Madam White Brows steps in and saves him. Ten years later, the child has grown up to be a dimwitted servant boy named Jiao Yaner (Lo Lieh). He has been forbidden to learn kung fu, but he secretly practices his father's flaming dagger technique from a scroll that he left him. The crafty businessman's son is a good-for-nothing rapist, and it's only a matter of time before Jiao gets framed for one of his foul deeds. Along comes Madam White Brows' star pupil Leng Rushuang (cute Shih Szu), also known as "Lady Of The Law", to investigate the rapist case which puts her on Jiao's tail for the rest of the film. Poor Lo Lieh suffers indignation upon indignation for well over an hour before he finally manages to clear his name and avenge his father's death. Leng also comes around to his side at the end, but feels no remorse for the torment she put him through. I suppose it's all water under the bridge for her. With the real rapist going to trial, she rides off with an adoring Jaio desperately trying to follow her.

Tedious and plodding, and like so many kung fu films of the time, the majority of the film revolves around intricately laid plans of deception and betrayal. *yawn* The action scenes are fun, but the choreography is way too gentle and flowery. The wire work is also extremely poor, with the exception of a nice fight that takes place on a tightrope. Lo Lieh sees the majority of the action, and while his moves are great, it's too obvious that everyone is holding back. Shih Szu looks wonderful swinging a sword around, but otherwise her delivery is extremely wooden. Outside of her acrobatic fight scenes, the extent of her acting boils down to her eyes occasionally widening. One of the more interesting sequences takes place at Valley Head's palace, which is entirely populated by his kung fu mistresses. Unfortunately, the impact of the big showdown is somewhat spoiled by the fact that many of the dueling maidens are just male stuntmen in drag. Bummer.