Seven Spirit Pagoda (HK 1976)

Rating: ***
Alternate Title: Shaolin Temple (US Title)
Cast: Hsu Feng, Judy Lee (Chia Ling), Dick Wei, possible cameo by Tsui Kam Long

A slow starter with a drawn out lackluster ending, but the entire second act kicks ass as the intensely beautiful Hsu Feng and spunky Judy Lee show up and fight the bad guys for nearly forty minutes straight! Wow! A king is betrayed and murdered, and his last dying wish is to have his general take his son to safety so that he can exact revenge at a later date. The annoying prince is poisoned and his escorts (including Dick Wei) take him to the general's daughters (Hsu Feng and Judy Lee) for help. Hsu Feng goes to a Buddhist monastery to retrieve a magic potion for the prince, and must defeat all of the monks to get it. Surprisingly, she can fight pretty damn well, while still managing to maintain her savage beauty. Judy Lee is left behind to protect the prince, and her sword draws a lot of blood from the endless horde of bad guys. Sadly, after the potion is retrieved and the bad guys have all been dispatched, Judy commits suicide for her country. Major bummer. The prince then goes to the traitorous king disguised as a concubine (!), murders him, and reclaims the throne. Very good fighting all around, although Ms. Lee easily outclasses all of her opponents. There's also a surprisingly high suicide rate among the heroes, as at least four people kill themselves for the prince. Unfortunately, the dubbing is atrocious and the extended dancing numbers at the beginning and ending of the film become boring and tedious.