‘The Fate of Lee Khan’ Review: King Hu Directs Angela Mao

Sensible folks the world over know that the names King Hu and Angela Mao imply nice occasions on the motion pictures. Hu, born in Beijing, was an impressed, idiosyncratic director of wuxia (“martial heroes”) movies who largely labored in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Several of his finest footage from the 1960s and ’70s — “Dragon Inn” (a transparent affect on Ang Lee’s 2000 “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), “A Touch of Zen” and “The Legend of the Mountain” — have been restored and redistributed in recent times. Mao was a wuxia star variously nicknamed “Lady Whirlwind” and “Lady Kung Fu” and is now a profitable restaurateur in our personal honest metropolis.

The 1973 image “The Fate of Lee Khan” was the primary and solely time that Hu and Mao teamed up, and it’s the newest restored Hu image to hit New York. Set in the course of the 1366 insurrection in opposition to Mongol rule in China, it pits decided insurgent forces in opposition to the title character, one of the Khans of Genghis’s line. Lee Khan is a excessive Mongol official touring to obtain a secret conflict map, and he’s stopping on the newly opened Spring Inn for his rendezvous.

Hu’s movies typically showcase formidable feminine fighters, and this one is not any exception. The Spring Inn turns into a house for six ladies fighters. For the resistance, there’s innkeeper Wan Jen-Mi, performed by Li Li-Hua, whose lengthy filmography consists of the feminine lead (reverse Victor Mature!) in 1958’s “China Doll,” one of the final footage directed by the nice Frank Borzage.

Wan has 4 new serving women, plucked from lives of crime and virtually solely referred to by the colours or patterns of their uniforms. “Peony,” a semi-reformed pickpocket, is performed by Mao. A pair of the opposite servers additionally present recidivist tendencies, like the previous con artist, wearing crimson, who haunts the inn’s cube desk. But when it’s time to get busy, these undercover rebels do, as when three sword-bearing would-be robbers attempt to knock the place over.

The sixth lady warrior is Lee Wan-erh, Lee Khan’s devoted sister, performed by Hsu Feng. A completely ruthless character, she’s calling for beheadings earlier than she’s had her first meal at Spring Inn.

Once the gamers are established, the film falls right into a candy lather, rinse, repeat mode of scenes, alternating character intrigue and preventing. Because it’s as a lot a “hangout movie” as it’s an motion image, it’s unhappy on the finish to notice what number of losses the nice guys suffered. Such is the best way of the wuxia.

Source link Nytimes.com

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