"The final fight for King Eagle seemed like it ended before it even started. Come to think of it, some of the action in the first half of the film was a lot more gripping."
- Mighty Peking Man
King Eagle (1970)
Director: Chang Cheh
Cast: Li Ching, Ti Lung, Cheng Miu (Ching Miao), Cheung Pooi Saan (Chang Pei-Shan), Cheng Lui (Cheng Lei), Bruce Tong (Yim Chaan), Chan Sing, Wong Chung, Tung Li, Hung Lau, Cliff Lok, Lee Sau Kei, Wong Kwong Yue, Yuen Wo Ping, Yuen Cheung Yan, Yuen Shun-Yi
Running Time: 80 min.
Plot: See review below.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: Ti Lung plays a loner swordsman named Jin Fei (aka King Eagle) who, despite being one of the best fighters in the martial world, minds his own business and avoids fights whenever possible.
One day, Jin Fei crosses paths with an injured man, who had just escaped a group of attackers. Though barely alive, the man manages to pass on secret information about how the leader of the Tien Yi Tong clan was betrayed and murdered by Hung Sing-tien (Cheung Pooi-saan), the clan’s second in command.
Knowing he’s going to die any second, the man urges Jin Fei to deliver his crucial message to the rest of the Tien Yi Tong clan; but just as Jin Fei is about to ignore the situation and walk off, the gang of attackers (Hung Sing-tien’s men) show up and suspect that their victim might have “talked” to Jin Fei...
There’s a lot more to King Eagle, but basically the movie revolves around the act of betrayal, revenge, and surprisingly, love. Yes, there’s a romantic subplot revolving Jin Fei falling for a woman named Yuk Lin, played by Li Ching. Oddly, Li Ching has a dual role - both as Jin Fei’s love ineterest, and as Yuk Lin’s evil younger sister, who works under the notorious Hung Sing-tien.
Everything from the costumes, set designs and just the overall look, are fantastic. And for being a film from 1970, they managed to do a great job with the camera effects when the two Li Chings appeared on the screen together. I dig the James Bond “borrowed” On Her Majesty's Secret Service music, as well.
King Eagle has enough action (featuring solid choreography job by Tong Gaai and Yuen Cheung Yan) and for the most part, flows along at a decent pace.
However, I do have a grip that really stops it from being a Chang Cheh film that I could have really loved: the film’s ending was very anti-climactic and disappointing. Maybe I’m just used to those good old Chang Cheh endings; you know, long bloody fights, heroes dying very slowly and painfully. The final fight for King Eagle seemed like it ended before it even started. Come to think of it, some of the action in the first half of the film was a lot more gripping.
I say give it shot. After all, it’s a Chang Cheh film.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 7/10