The Revenger (HK 1979)

Rating: **
Review Date: 7/8/13
Alternate Title: Shaolin Revenger (US release)
Cast: Ti Lung, Tan Tao Liang, Hsu Feng, Shih Szu

Shao Tu (Ti Lung with a beard) is a wandering fighter, eager to pick fights with immoral wrong-doers. Unfortunately, this causes problems for an ambitious villain who wants to take over town, so he assembles a group of the greatest fighters to put Shao out of business for good. And surprisingly, they do, but not before his pregnant wife flees the scene of the massacre. Eighteen years later, his son Shao Shu (Ti Lung without a beard) learns about his dad's tragic fate and hatred fills his heart. His mother makes him promise not to seek revenge, but also makes him promise to reclaim his father's bones. And if that involves killing people, then so be it. Another side plot involving two separated siblings (Tan Tao Liang and Hsu Feng) brings everyone together at the end to air their grievances against the unscrupulous villain.

Unfortunately, the copy of the film I saw was of very poor quality, so it's difficult to judge the production values. From what I could tell, it looked like it might have been pretty good looking in its pristine form. However, the aimless and confusing plot is another issue, and the film seriously looks like it was edited incorrectly. Early on, Shao Tu is caught in a devious trap, while later in the film, the villain is discussing how to set up the same trap. Other inconsistencies make the film hard to follow as well, and the lovely Hsu Feng is interchangeably referred to as both "mister" and "miss", even though her dress and hairstyle never change. Speaking of Ms. Feng, she is quite lovely as always, and it was a real treat to see her show up. Her fight scenes are only so-so, but it's her attitude and intensity that really set the screen alight. An unrecognizable Shih Szu is a disappointing addition as the villain's daughter, but at least she gets to swing a sword around for a little bit. The final fight between Ti Lung and the bad guy is pretty impressive and features some nice sword work against a three-section whip. Sub-average kung fu fare overall, but still fun nonetheless.