"I love it when I come across a Shaw Brothers filmmaker (other than Chang Cheh or Lau Kar-Leung) who blows my mind."
- Mighty Peking Man
Killer Darts (1968)
Director: Hoh Mung Wa
Cast: Chin Ping, Yueh Hua, Sam Yi (Shen Yi), Fong Min, Guk Fung (Ku Feng), Tong Dik, Paang Paang, Ma Ying, Cheung Pooi Saan (Chang Pei-Shan), Ngai Ping Ngo, Han Ying Chieh, Siu Gam, Kok Lee Yan, Woo Tung, Cheung Yuk Kam
Running Time: 83 min.
Plot: See review below.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: They brutally killed his wife, wiped out dozens of his innocent people, and burnt his entire village down to a charbroiled crisp. Now, master Liou Wen-lung (Fang Mien) is out for revenge. Armed with a near-invincible sword style and a pack of killer darts, he heads out to settle a 10-year old grudge with the cold-blooded evildoers. Joining him is his son (Yueh Hua), an orphan named Yu Sien (Chin Ping) and his trusty servant.
As I’ve said before: I love it when I come across a Shaw Brothers filmmaker (other than Chang Cheh or Lau Kar-Leung) who blows my mind. This time, it’s director Hoh Mung Wa; the only other movie I’ve seen of his was Mighty Peking Man, which I remember being an enjoyable King Kong knock off -- I had no idea this guy was making quality swordplay flicks like this.
Killer Darts is the perfect companion piece to Ching Gong’s 12 Gold Medallions. Not only do both movies star Yueh Hua and Chin Ping, they also share similar situations. For example: Chin Ping’s character is madly in love for Yueh Hua’s; she has some unforgiving issues involving her father, in this case, her foster father; and once again, she is lethal, cute and pouty.
Watching 12 Gold Medallions, and now Killer Darts, I feel like I’m officially becoming a fan of Yueh Hua. He has a natural quality that makes him easier to watch than, say, Jimmy Wang Yu. There’s a sensitivity he applies to roles; and even though he’s playing a guy who can easily slice the fuck out of his enemies, he doesn’t come across like a cocky, stoned-face badass.
The villains of the film are flamboyant and sometimes cartoony. One of the baddies is an obese guy who has exaggerated chest hairs, pre-dating Austin Powers. Another sports a prothetic arm that shoots out sharp objects, reminiscent of what we would see years later in Chang Cheh’s Crippled Avengers.
Compared to most swordplay films of this time, the martial arts choreography seems more fluid and technical. Also noticeable is the classy cinematography which shows us lots of overview shots of the action below. As you would expect, Killer Darts is filled with a tremendous amount of slicing, dicing and bloody carnage; as well as unique weaponry and deadly traps.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 8/10