A heroic family is double-crossed and massacred on the battlefield. Only two brothers—Gordon Liu and Alexander Fu Sheng— survive the slaughter. Alexander Fu Sheng returns home to his mother and sisters, but has been driven insane by witnessing the slaughter of all his brothers and father. Chia-hui escapes to a monastery where his bloodlust and warlike demeanor put him at odds with the monks. The family mother (Li Li Li) sends the elder daughter (Hui Ying Hung) to look for the lost brother, but she is captured by the villains. Chia-hui eventually leaves the monastery to rescue her. —Hkmdb
Liu Chia – liang born July 28, 1936 in Guangzhou, Guangdong) is a famous Hong Kong martial arts filmmaker, choreographer, and actor.
He is best known for his movies which he made during the 1970s and 1980s for the Shaw Brothers Studio. One of his most famous films is The 36th Chamber of Shaolin which starred his martial brother, Lau Kar-fai, as well as Drunken Master II which starred Jackie Chan
Before becoming famous, Liu worked as an extra and choreographer on the black & white Wong Fei Hung movies. He teamed up with fellow Wong Fei Hung choreographer Tong Gaai on the 1963 Hu Peng wuxia picture South Dragon, North Phoenix. Their collaboration would continue on until the mid-1970s.
In the 1960s he became one of Shaw Brothers’ main choreographers and had a strong working relationship with director Chang Cheh, working on many of Chang’s movies as a choreographer (often alongside Tong Gaai) including The One-Armed Swordsman, as well as other Shaw Bros. wuxia pictures… read more
Take a simple Shaw Brothers formula, add the standard ingredients, and insane fight choreography (including a violently-awesome ending) and you've got yourself a classic kung fu film. Similar (like all great classic kung fu films) to an Astaire & Rogers film: The plot just propels you the next dance number.
Even if you've seen hundreds of kung fu films, there's something about "Eight Diagram Pole Fighter" that captures the essence of the genre and reminds you why you fell in love with these movies in the first place. Gordon Liu delivers what may be the best performances of his career as the truly anguished son of a besieged family. The climactic battle fills the frame with a flurry of combatants, each of director Lau Kar-leung's cuts aiding to build the crescendo of orgiastic violence; it's almost more than than the viewer's eye can process and yet Kar-leung never sacrifices clarity for the sake of kinetic motion, a truly admirable feat. This film is not only one of the director's finest efforts but the perfect swan song for the Shaw Brothers era of martial arts.
A contender for my favourite Shaw Bros. film at the moment. I was blown away by its insanely fast paced choreography and blood splattering violence. It also has one of the more effectively emotional narratives of a Shaw film; a studio which often made films with irrelevant stories, existing as an excuse to set up a series of action set pieces. I was actually invested in this film's story, though.
The obvious, opulent artificiality of the film lends it a greater emotional gravity, the characters existing less in the objectively "real" world and more in an expressive headspace of emotion. Kar-leung's kinetics have a shocking violence to them, sudden and absurd blasts of physical damage you can feel, making this more brutal than many martial arts films. At times, however, Kar-leung appears to blur the already spotty line between fight and dance, such as Liu's training sequence at the temple pond.