retired in 1992, but she is still one of the biggest stars around. She brought
down the house presenting the Asia Star Award to her frequent co-star-action
choreographer Sammo Hung and if the producers of the proposed Expendabelles film cannot lure her into
a big screen return than they simply should not bother going any further.
Viewers can appreciate her power and presence in Shout Factory’s 3-DVD Angela Mao Ying Collection, on-sale
today, which includes Jeong Chang-hwa’s Broken
Liu never knew her mother, but she inherited her drive for revenge just the
same. After four turncoats murdered her father, the principled General Liu, her
mother Yee-mei was consigned to the remote Wolf’s Teeth Island prison, where
she dies during childbirth. Thousand Hands, Lotus’s not so rehabilitated pickpocket
god-mother, raises her as her own daughter, but never reveals her birth mother’s
tale of woe, in hopes of breaking the cycle of violence (in addition to her
titular oath). Right, good luck with that.
Lotus is expelled from her Buddhist nunnery, discovering her true origin story
shortly thereafter. With the help one of Thousand Hands’ stealthy-fingered
associate, Lotus proceeds to hunt down her father’s four betrayers one-by-one.
So far, so good, but she is not quite sure what to make of the mysterious
stranger, who frequently materializes to point her in the right direction.
cited as a fan favorite, Broken was
Mao’s final film for Golden Harvest (considered the successors to the Shaw
Brothers as the next great HK distributor-production house). It is easy to see
why. While technically a period wuxia film, it definitely has the sensibilities
of a 1970s revenge thriller. There are also the exotic Devil’s Island style
prison scenes, a small army of undercover cops targeting enemy #4, and a dash
of Buddhist teachings.
importantly, there are some spectacular fight sequences featuring Mao and her
co-stars, including Hung in as a featured bodyguard. Action directors Yuen
Woo-ping and Hsu Hsia frequently mix martial arts styles to play to the
strengths of each cast-member, but they always keep it dazzling cinematic and
electrifies Broken, brooding with
intensity and throwing down with authority. She is unquestionably the star,
even though the big fight sequences are distributed surprisingly equitably
amongst the ensemble. Wang Lai also lends the affair plenty of grace and
dignity as Thousand Hands, while Ho Mei makes a strong impression in her brief
but fan-serving appearance as the wronged Madame Liu.
Oath seriously delivers
the goods for martial arts connoisseurs in general and Angela Mao Ying fans in
particular. It is a perfect opener for Shout Factory’s highly recommended
collection, now available on DVD. More coverage to come.
Labels: Angela Mao, DVD, Martial arts cinema