HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
mother!
God's Own Country
Unseen, The
Tonight She Comes
Chasing the Dragon
Into the Forest
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
   
 
Newest Articles
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
   
 
  Sweet is Revenge Justice wears a maskBuy this film here.
Year: 1967
Director: Wu Chia-hsiang
Stars: Yueh Hua, Li Ching, Angela Yu Chien, Cheng Miu, Lee Ying, Chen Hung-Lieh, Wu Chia-hsiang, Ho Fan, Ou-Yang Sha-Fei, Lui Ming, Lee Wan Chung, Tin Sam, Ku Feng
Genre: Action, Thriller, Historical, Adventure
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: In the early 1900s, with China overrun by corrupt warlords, circus acrobat turned masked bandit Xiao Pao (Yueh Hua) robs from the rich to feed the poor. His latest escapade finds him infiltrating a lavish banquet held by Chief Inspector Ma (Lee Ying), whose slimy son Qian-Li (Chen Hung-Lieh) wants to marry nice peasant girl Wang Dan-Ping (Ching Li). But Dan-Ping is in love with David Li (Ho Fan), a nice young doctor who runs a clinic in the country. Disguised as a stage magician, Xiao Pao evades the trap set for him and steals a fortune in jewels from right under the nose of his archenemy Commander Zheng Quan Xi (Cheng Miu), but takes a bullet in the leg. He receives treatment at David’s clinic then makes a quick getaway so the young couple will come to no harm. However, Qian-Li frames David for robbery. While David is tortured in prison, Qian-Li convinces Dan-Ping he has committed suicide out of remorse, driving David’s mother (Ou-Yang Sha-Fei) to throw herself off a cliff. Whereupon Xiao Pao grabs his disguise kit and enacts a fitting revenge.

This fast-paced Shaw Brothers romp is much like an old-fashioned matinee serial with its allusions to Zorro and Robin Hood. Cheap and cheerful compared to the lush kung fu spectaculars the studio would soon be famed for, its primary concern is delivering breakneck thrills and forgoes such niceties as depth, nuance and context. Sweet is Revenge grabs the sympathies of its target working class audience with an early scene where a gaggle of snooty women brag about their expensive jewellery. Unlike, say, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), the film tells us little about the politics or morality of the ruling class other than that these are “the haves” and viewers need only concern themselves with watching Xiao Pao redress the balance. This he does in several wittily suspenseful scenes, but the non-stop chases, captures and escapes leave little dramatic meat in-between.

Many of the more amusing scenes involve the ingenious disguises donned by Xiao Pao and his sidekick, Xiao Zhong, played by the film’s director Wu Chia-hsiang. Born into a wealthy family, Wu discovered his passion for the arts while serving in the Sino-Japanese war. After starting as an actor and appearing in several major Chinese films, he made his debut with the acclaimed Fathers and Sons (1963) and dabbled in a variety of genres throughout his tenure at Shaw Brothers.

For Sweet is Revenge, Wu assembled quite a starry cast whom, despite their one-dimensional roles, play every emotion to the hilt. Li Ching, the studio’s celebrated “Baby Queen”, who won the Golden Horse Best Actress award for The Mermaid (1964) at age seventeen; Ho Fan, the matinee idol and award-winning “erotic photographer” who later branched out into directing Shaw’s sex comedies such as Girl with the Long Hair (1975); and not least Yueh Hua, one of the studio’s most talented and versatile leading men. However, Angela Yu Chien is wasted in a throwaway role as Zheng’s wife, which is strange given she had just won best supporting actress for her role in Doe Chin’s The Blue and the Black (1966).

For such a light-hearted affair, the film has a rather sadistic edge. Characters are lashed, tortured, and left bloodied and insane. At one point Xiao Pao horsewhips Zheng in front of his sobbing wife and has to punch a hysterical David unconscious to smuggle him out of jail. The lengthy third act finds Xiao Pao disguised as a wealthy relative and deals a fitting comeuppance to the villains, but few are likely to rank this among Shaw’s most memorable output. The studio more or less remade Sweet is Revenge, with a few tweaks, as Chu Yuan’s mildly superior The Lizard (1971) wherein Yueh Hua reprised his role as the masked bandit.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2306 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Shrimpton
Lee Lopez
Jennifer Thomas
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: