The Villains (HK 1973)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/22/20
Director: Yuen Chor
Stunt Coordinator: Yuen Woo Ping
Cast: Yueh Hua, Shih Szu, Chen Hung-Lieh

When Shih Szu's parents die, she goes to live with her rich uncle, who despises her family. "We're a traditional family. There will be no equality of the sexes or free love in this household!" Her uncle has two sons: one is a smart, caring, humble, handsome, and righteous scholar (Yueh Hua), while the other is a cruel and selfish miscreant who spends his days drinking, fighting, gambling, stealing, raping, murdering, and recklessly spending his dad's money (Chen Hung-Lieh). Naturally, dad favors the awful son who he believes is destined for greatness, and kicks the good son out of the house for reasons that are too baffling to understand. With Hua out of the way, Chen rapes the defenseless Shih Szu and makes her pregnant, which leads to even more tragedy and misery. When daddy's money can no longer protect Chen from the law, Hua returns as a government official who has been charged to arrest his brother, which ends in a bloodbath.

Unfortunately, the film is not what I expected and is more of a weepy family drama than anything else. The story is bleak and dreary, the pacing is tiresome, and the action scenes are dull and uninteresting. With Shih Szu as the female lead, I was hoping to see her in action, but she's sadly relegated to a helpless "damsel in distress" role. At only one point does she show a spark of fierceness, but it's fleeting and disappears almost immediately.