To Kill With Intrigue

  • 1977
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Action, Historical, Martial Arts

Fans unfamiliar with Jackie Chan's early career will be surprised by this film, one of his early starring vehicles, which features none of the comic virtuosity that is now his trademark. A period piece, the film begins as Lord Lai celebrates his 60th birthday with an elaborate party. But his son, Sau (Chan), is conspicuous by his absence, and when he arrives...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Fans unfamiliar with Jackie Chan's early career will be surprised by this film, one of his early starring vehicles, which features none of the comic virtuosity that is now his trademark. A period piece, the film begins as Lord Lai celebrates his 60th birthday with an elaborate party. But his son, Sau (Chan), is conspicuous by his absence, and when he arrives he ejects all the guests before revealing that he's received a frightening message in the form of a severed hand with a distinctive tattoo: a bee with a woman's head. The tattoo is the insignia of the Killer Bees, a group of bandits Lord Lai thought he'd eradicated 15 years earlier. But now they're back, and led by the vengeful Ting Chan-Yen, who was only five when Lord Lai slew her family and tried to kill her, leaving her with a horribly scarred face. The Bees kill everyone but Sua, whom Ting allows to live so he may suffer the same grief she has. Not only is Sua mourning the death of his family, but also the loss of his pregnant girlfriend Chin-Chin, whom he sent away. He asked his friend Chen Chan to look after her, but when he goes to Chen's home, Chen is gone. Worse, Sua is attacked by another group of bandits, the Bloody Rain clan. They've been hired by Master Lu Yang Chi to kill Chen, who stole a shipment of priceless goods owned by the governor of Hunan from Lu's transport company, Dragon Escorts. Sua winds up allied with Master Lu, since both want something Chen has, and Sua is alternately tormented and aided by the capricious Ting. Meanwhile, Chen is putting the moves on Chin-Chin, who's particularly vulnerable to his blandishments because she's unmarried and pregnent, and has been led to believe that her baby's father is dead. This handsome, if formulaic, historical action movie features extensive '70s-style wirework in the martial arts sequences, and some offbeat supernatural elements, including flying coffins, spooky lanterns and the vengeful bandit who appears in the Lai palace demanding his severed hand back. Jackie Chan is all-but unrecognizable in period costumes and hair: Only his distinctive nose gives him away.

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  • Released: 1977
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Fans unfamiliar with Jackie Chan's early career will be surprised by this film, one of his early starring vehicles, which features none of the comic virtuosity that is now his trademark. A period piece, the film begins as Lord Lai celebrates his 60th birth… (more)

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