Legendary Weapons of China
AKA: Legendary Weapons of Kung Fu, New Legendary Weapons of China
Year of release: 1982
Genre: martial arts
Director: Lau Kar-Leung
Action directors: Lau Kar-Leung, Hsiao Ho, King Lee
Producer: Mona Fong
Writers: Lau Kar-Leung, Lee Tai-Hang
Cinematography: Peter Ngor
Editing: Lee Yim-Hoi, Chiang Hsing-Lung
Music: Stephen Shing, So Jan-Hau
Stars: Lau Kar-Leung, Hsiao Ho, Alexander Fu Sheng, Kara Hui, Gordon Liu, Lau Kar-Wing
Rated II for violence
Movie Review Index
Released towards the end of the lifespan of the classic old school kung fu genre, Lau Kar-Leung's 1982 picture Legendary Weapons of China doesn't offer up much in the way of originality, but what it does serve up -- namely, lots of fisticuffs combined with a wide variety of weapon styles -- is done extremely well, making this film, while not an all-time classic, worth seeking out and watching if you consider yourself even the smallest fan of old school kung fu cinema.
The film is very loosely based on events that took place in China during the late 1800's, where various groups came up to oppose the growing wave of foreign imperialism. Some of these, such as the ones featured here, believed themselves to have mystic powers, to the point that even the bullets from the guns of gwailos would not hurt them. Legendary Weapons of China centers on Lui Gung (Lau Kar-Leung), a former leader of the Boxers, who left the group after it became clear that their tactics were only resulting in the death of fellow Chinese, rather than the usurping of foreigners.
This leads to a group of assassins (Kara Hui, Hsiao Ho, and Gordon Liu) each with their own unique methods and motivation, being sent to kill Lui. As with many movies of this type, alliances are broken and lost, resulting in a climatic clash. What separates Legendary Weapons of China are the eponymous implements, which are brought forth during the finale, where all eighteen of the legendary weapons are put to use in a sequence that ranks among some of the best output of the old school kung fu genre.
There have been some criticisms of the film that have cropped up in various reviews, of which I will agree with, at least to some extent. The characterization is thin at best, and the sidetracks into comedic territory with Alexander Fu Sheng's bumbling conman character cause the film to lose its' momentum at points. But, overall, these are fairly minor detractions in the whole cinematic scheme of things. Simply put, if you like old school kung fu and haven't seen this movie yet, you're missing out.