The Brave Archer Part II [射鵰英雄傳續集] (1978)
AKA Kung Fu Warlords II
Starring Alexander Fu Sheng, Nau Nau, Ku Feng, Phillip Kwok Chun-Fung, Johnny Wang Lung-Wei, Danny Lee, Li Yi-Min, Shirley Yu Sha-Li, Ku Kuan-Chung, Lin Chen-Chi, Tsai Hung, Lo Meng, Wong Ching-Ho, Kara Hui, Sun Chien, Yu Hoi-Lun, Yue Wing, Chan Shen, Keung Hon, Suen Shu-Pau, Lu Feng, Chiang Sheng, Dick Wei, Norman Chu Siu-Keung, Bruce Tong Yim-Chaan
Directed by Chang Cheh
Expectations: High. I like the first one a lot.
The Brave Archer 2 begins right where the first film ended, with Kuo Tsing (Alexander Fu Sheng) and his bride-to-be, Huang Yung (Nau Nau), running to embrace in slow-motion. This moment culminated the first film’s arc, so it’s nice to have a reminder. Chang goes a step further to recap some of what led to this, before accelerating into a bridge section that glosses over cost-prohibitive shipwrecks and starts the film on a hillside easily doubled on a Shaw sound stage. Our heroes, Kuo Tsing, Naughty Chao (Phillip Kwok) and Beggar Hung (Ku Feng), survived a shipwreck following their exodus from Peach Island. Huang secretly followed her betrothed in a boat of her own, which also shipwrecked. But while the men landed on the beach, the dastardly Ouyang Feng (Wang Lung-Wei) and his nephew (Danny Lee) rescued Huang from the middle of the ocean. Ouyang Feng wants the Jiao Yin manual Kuo learned from Naughty Chao (the 2nd part of which Kuo unknowingly carried on a piece of tattooed villain skin), so he forces him to write it down in exchange for Huang’s life.
The first film focused on Kuo Tsing’s budding relationship with Huang, and his many kung fu masters along the way, but The Brave Archer 2 sidelines them in favor of developing the major villains. Ouyang Feng is present throughout, his deadly frog kung fu on full display. Yang Kang is outwardly portrayed as a villain of his own choosing, refusing to acknowledge his Song blood in order to keep the status and wealth of the Jins. Yuan Ngan Hung Lit, the Sixth Prince of Jin and Yang Kang’s adopted father, searches for the Book of Wumu, a collection of military strategies and tactics, in order to aid his fight against the Song Empire. The sequel also expands the martial world considerably, introducing us to the rest of the Tsuen Jen Taoists (Taoist Yao names Kuo Tsing and Yang Kang in the first film), the Beggars’ Clan, and the Iron Palm Clan.