This violent, brightly colored, comic book style revenge fable feels like the Mortal Kombat film Hollywood should've given us, but didn't. The fantastical elements don't necessarily gel alongside the more serious historical fiction, but the physicality of the film & its martial arts choreography are both compelling. Chang abuses the hell out of his zoom lens, creating some often disorienting moments within the frame.
A really successful Chang kung fu film that overcomes some of his aesthetic limitations (compared with Lau at least) through a scenario that leads to compelling sparring in interesting settings. Just as the kung fu warriors problem solve to defeat the ninjas, so too does Chang problem solve, working through each different scenario visually and conceptually.
The delayed introduction of the protagonist creates an ethical vacuum within the film. We only come to identify him through his struggle for vengeance, little else differentiates his martial arts school from the rival school or the scheming ninjas. In this moral abyss, Chang Cheh stages a rigorously successive series of set pieces, each first introduced and then later revisited in the latter half of the film (cont.)