Just about a year ago, I finished the first phase of my Shaw Brothers project, AKA the 1960s, and I posted a Top 10 list for the period. And as promised on that post, roughly one year later I have finished “Phase 2” (1970–1971) and have put together another list of 10 films for those who don’t want to waste time watching all of the films from the period. This list was culled from 39 eligible films, and it was a lot harder this time around. The films are getting much better overall, so even though I limited this list to only two years, I had a number of quality films on the list to consider. As I did last time, I’ve included links to Amazon and Netflix for easy access by those intrigued enough to check some of these out. This time I’ve also added links to DDDHouse.com for films available through them. The availability is all current as of the
posting of this list update to this list on 6/11/2016.
OK, enough jibber jabber, let’s get to the list!
#10 The Swift Knight (1971)
Directed by Cheng Chang Ho
Reviewed April 12, 2013
This 10th spot was the only one on this list that I didn’t fill quickly. The others were all easy shoe-ins, but for this final spot in the list there were a few very good ones that I could have gone with. I ultimately chose The Swift Knight for a couple of reasons. The first is that the film is one that tries to blend genre thrills with artful intent, something somewhat rare and precious in the Shaw Brothers films (although a good many of the films on this list do the same). The second is that it’s a ridiculous amount of fun. Fantastic fights and a thrilling story combine to make for a really outstanding film. Definitely worth your time.
The Swift Knight is unfortunately out of print and currently unavailable everywhere. eBay is your best bet at this point, but also keep your fingers crossed while you pray to the Celestial gods that could, at some point in the future, release the film to digital platforms such as iTunes.
#9 The Deadly Duo (1971)
Directed by Chang Cheh
Reviewed June 21, 2013
The Deadly Duo isn’t your average martial arts film in that its focus is somewhere other than tightly choreographed martial arts battles between colorful combatants. Those elements definitely exist but they are sidelined in favor of a more straightforward action film. It’s odd that the film still works so well as a martial arts film, and sad that many non-Chang Cheh films don’t even have fights that match the ones seen here, and the ones in The Deadly Duo feel like an afterthought at times. It’s a worthwhile watch just to see a different take on the classic martial arts tale, and it also features Bolo Yeung in a small villain role.