The Savage Five
"One thing that is refreshing about the film is none of the five men are good at kung fu; this is why courage, from more or less average men, is probably the main focus of the film".
- Mighty Peking Man
The Savage Five (1974)
Director: Chang Cheh
Producer: Sir Run Run Shaw
Cast: David Chiang, Ti Lung, Chen Kuan Tai, Danny Lee Sau-Yin, Wong Chung (Wang Chung), Wai Wang, Wang Ping-Ping, Lu Ti, Kong Do, Wong Ching
Running Time: 91 min.
Plot: A pacifist village is beset by bandits in this martial arts thriller.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: A gang of bandits take refuge in a small town, where they force a locksmith to open a stolen safe containing cash and gold. During their stay, the men decide to have a little fun by beating, raping and murdering innocent people. Amongst the town folk, five guys (David Chiang, Ti Lung, Chen Kuan Tai, Danny Lee and Wang Chung) decide to man-up and take the evil bastards on -- hence, the “Savage Five.”
Most of the time, The Savage Five feels more like a Spaghetti Western than a kung fu flick, which is probably intentional. It doesn’t help that a lot of the “borrowed” soundtrack contains snippets of Ennio Morricone’s score from Giulio Petroni’s 1968 flick “Death Rides A Horse.” Plus, you got the whole Western themes going on: small peaceful town disrupted, a locked safe, and a main bad guy, whose weapons of death is not his hands, feet, knife or sword, but a pair of pistols. Also, gun power plays an explosive part of the film’s climax.
For the most part, The Savage Five is pretty straight forward as far as the plot goes. Nothing unusual or no real surprises are uncovered. One thing that is refreshing about the film is none of the five men are good at kung fu; this is why courage, from more or less average men, is probably the main focus of the film.
As far as the action, those who are familiar with Chang Cheh’s work will get what they expect: lots of bloody violence and heroic deaths. Lau Kar-Leung’s choreography is solid, and is not the typical “swinging arm” bullshit we get with most pre-1975 martial arts flicks. Of course, this is what makes most Shaw Brothers projects so special: the ease of creating an all-round quality piece of entertainment.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 8/10