on June 30, 2007
This is a unique movie. It starts off with a very serious Lily Li getting a message in her thoughts that only 6 out of her 7 sons will return from a battle with some Mongolians. Instead, only brother #6 returns (Alexander Fu Sheng). He comes back insane after seeing all of his brothers die. It was a bit disturbing for me as well. Hsiao Ho, Lau Kar Wing, Wong Yue and 2 other Yang brothers all bite the dust before the movie ever really starts. Luckily, Yang #5 (Gordon Liu) makes it out alive and goes to study at Shaolin Temple. That is all I will tell about the story, you just have to experience it for yourself. A true Shaw Brothers classic. The use of sets only may turn some people off, but they are beautiful sets and any Shaws fan will not have a problem with this. Also, if you love hand to hand, there is a slight chance you will not like this wonderful movie. It is all pole fighting, no hand to hand. Only get this if you want to see some of the best stick work ever. Even Lily Li gets about 2 minutes to show off. And just like a lot of Lau kar Leung's other films, this is a true Shaolin movie, and the Shaolin pole techniques are on full display. Their skills in pole fighting are a big reason why the Emperor favored them and why Shaolin became what it is today.
If you are a fan of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, you may like this movie even more. Not as many training scenes, but some awesome Gordon Liu action.
You need good villains in kung fu movies and luckily Johnny Wang Lung Wei is in this. The other 2 main baddies are acceptable. Philip Kao Fei also stars in a very memorable role as the head abbot.
Even though this movie had to be drasticly changed because of Fu Sheng's death during the time of filming, it is amazingly still a masterpiece in just about every way.
Another one of the last Shaw films, and another one of the very best. Sad to see they had to close up when they had all of these megastars on hand to make great movies like this.
One more note- I was not expecting this high of a death total in a Lau Kar Leung movie. He usually stays away from the violence. Well, "usually" is the key word here because I counted well over a 100 total deaths (you have to watch very close). The poles get very bloody. :)
Another masterpiece from Master Lau. I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this.
on April 23, 2003
Eight Diagram Pole Fighter is definitely one of the best of all-time. Its in my top 5. The pole fighting in this movie is spectacular. My favorite scene is when Gordon Liu fights the shaolin monk to complete his training. The choreography is amazing. $$$ well spend. You must buy this movie. It is Gordon Liu at his best.
on March 2, 2002
What can I say? I'm a fool thinking that I was a true fan of the old school Venom/Shaw Bros. movies without ever even seeing The Invincible Pole Fighters, until today. The Invincible Pole Fighters is hands down the definitive Shaw Bros. Kung Fu Flick. I thought the Master Killer was Gordon Liu's best movie, until today. This movie has awesome action, a cool plot, the late Fu Sheng, Gordon Liu, and a cameo by the Kung Fu King himself Liu Chia Liang(director)! Kudos to Venom Mob Films for bring this rare flick out to the public and for noting on the packaging that it's a video transfer. Ground-Zero films should take lessons from the Venom Mob. Hey any chance of this flick being released remastered and uncut?
on January 28, 2014
8 Diagram Pole Fighter was released in 1983.It is directed by the late Lau Kar Leung and stars Gordon Liu,Kara Hui,Lily Li,Phillip Ko,Johny Wang,and Alexander Fu Sheng.
8 Diagram Pole Fighter is based on the Yang Family generals.When the battle between the Liao Dynasty against the Yang Family in golden beach took place,the Yangs were betrayed by general Pun Mei.General Yeung Yip and all six sons of the Yang family fought in battle and only the fifth and sixth brother survived.They managed to escape,Sixth Son went back home and was left traumatized and fifth son took refuge in a monestary in Mount Wutai.He changed his ways and became a monk after many years.The Khitans were still searching for the remaining brothers and their last resort was to kidnap fifth Yang's younger sister.After younger sister has been kidnapped,fifth brother finds out her whereabouts and decides to break the buddhist code to rescue her and avenge his family's death.
8 Diagram Pole Fighter has got to be one of the best Shaw Brothers martial arts films of all time and from the early 80s.This has got to be Lau Kar Leung's top five best films among Heroes of the East,36th Chamber,Mad Monkey Kung Fu,Martial Arts of Shaolin.
on May 3, 2014
8 Diagram Pole Fighter is a favorite among many kung-fu film fans and it isn't very difficult to see why. In the realm of Shaw Brothers kung-fu cinema, this one has all the staples of a good flick. Gordon Liu plays the role of the pole fighter (though I still don't quite know what the 8 diagram part is about) and dedicates himself to the monk lifestyle after an upbringing of war. After nearly all his brothers are killed, Liu spends years becoming a monk, even though he is told he will never be accepted as one of them.
The make up, costumes and set pieces were all great and helped contribute to an authenticity of the film. Not to mention the early but not over use of wire-fu and how incredibly effective it was. The kung-fu and pole fighting were excellent and the choreography was even better. If you're a fan of Quentin Tarantino's movies you can tell this is one that he really loves, many of the sights and sounds of the film are referenced in his kung-fu/samurai epic Kill Bill.
on December 2, 2014
Wow. This movie starts out slow and the plot meanders (mainly due to Alexander Fu's death in a car accident while it was in production) but the pole work by Liu is the best of any of the Kung Fu movies I have seen. Kara Hui is amazing as usual. PLOT SPOILER BEYOND THIS POINT: BUT when the Abbot Monk shows up at the end and yells "KILL!" - oh man, be prepared for 5 minutes of brilliant choreography and a crazy Kung Fu gorefest the likes of which I have never seen before. My teeth were cringing the entire time.
on June 25, 2012
Well lets see.... There are over 800 Shaw Brothers movies and of that, maybe 50 cut the list as worth watching for one reason or another. Of that number, less than 10 will make the cut as excellent Kung Fu. But the top 5.... woof! The fighting has to be second to none. Here is a case where the story does not necessarily kill the movie if it is bad.
Well, what could be that phenominal. Practicing myself since 1972 and being a second generation Bruce Lee instructor, it takes alot. Just hold these Gordon Liu movies alongside any other fight scenes in any other Shaw Brothers Movies and the timing, speed, strength, and stage presence will pale.
Quite simply, It is 36th Chamber of Shaolin for training, Heores of the East for the most amazing choreographed fight scenes, and showcasing real Hung Gar Gung Fu vs. Judo, Karate Ninjitsu, tasseled spear vs. spear, 3 sectional vs. nunchaku and sai, Samurai Sword vs. broadsword and butterfly swords vs. sai.
But!! if you want to see the tasseled spear used beyond what you saw in Heroes of the East, then 8 diagram pole fighter is the 3rd movie to put in your collection.... Period! The story is pulsating and dark. It is devastating in its violence. And Gordon Lius' use of the tasseled spear is simply the best pole work you will see. And I am not talking about spectatcular Wu Fu kung fu movies using Wushu. I am referring to shear insane, ballistic and angry-vengeful fighting. You would think the wood on the spear was going to explode from the shear power with which Gordon Wields it. It is what it is "The best tasseled spear work put on film. Out of 1200 or so total old school kung fu movies made. Even it its not your favorite story, as a study in REAL Spearwork you will never need to view another person wielding one to get your entertainment.
Want the last 2 on my list to bring in the top 5 for Sheer real fighting? Well its also Gordon Lius'. Shaoin vs. Wu Tang... with tons of great fights and one of the best opening Shaw Brothers credits. And, fifth on our list of simply the best top 5 is.....Well... there is no 5th. The fighting and training in these 4 movies are stand alone. However, Fists and Guts has one of the best weapons fight scenes midway through. That fight looks like it was choreographed into Heroes of the East.
Geez, the way these martial arts films would have it, it's hell each time on whoever tries to get accepted into the Shaolin temple. But let's back up a bit. EIGHT DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER (or INVINCIBLE POLE FIGHTER) - a tale of martial arts and betrayal and the exacting of bloody vengeance - is an old school must-see if you're a fan of the wuxia pian genre. It showcases the talents of luminaries such as Gordon Liu, Kara Hui, Alexander Fu Sheng, and iconic director Liu Chia Liang (who, as per norm, nabs a juicy cameo for himself). Note that Liu Chia Liang's trademark silly humor is absent on this screen, the dark, brooding tone being that prevalent.
The plot? When the seven spear-wielding Yang brothers and their father march onto The Battle of Jinsha, they fall victim to a calculated ambush by the jealous General Pan Mei. The Yangs are slaughtered but for the fifth and sixth brothers, except that the sixth brother is promptly rendered brain-addled by what he'd endured. Which leaves the 5th brother, seething in his need for vengeance, and this p!ssed off fifth brother is played by the awesome Gordon Liu.
Back home, what remains of the now disgraced Yang family - basically, the womenfolk and the demented 6th brother (yep, crazy had come to the Yang household) - is planning to testify against General Pan Mei in front of the Emperor, but not if Pan Mei has anything to say about it.
Meanwhile, Fifth Brother makes his way to an isolated Shaolin temple, a place in which he thinks he can bide his time and be patient and revenge is a dish best served cold and whatnot. He informs the monks that he also wants to become a monk, but no one buys his fake sincerity. It finally falls on the angry 5th Brother to shave his own head and brand those scar dots on his own dome, and this is what we friggin' call resolve. He settles in. He maybe even finds a modicum of peace. We know it won't last.
Director Liu Chia Liang once again applies his inventiveness, and so we get moments like the ones which feature the Yang patriarch's unbelievable death scene, 5th Brother's self-branding, and 5th Brother's defanging of the wooden wolf. For imaginative set pieces, Liu Chia Liang throws in that pyramid of coffins and the bamboo poles of righteousness. It's a given that he'll choreograph a series of high quality fights, very much including 5th Brother's duel with the Abbot and the memorable climactic all-out brawl at the inn (in which the fiendish Tartars - or Mongols - lose a horrifying number of teeth). I like that the wire-work isn't overdone. As a bonus, the lovely Kara Hui impresses once more with her kung fu skills. Gordon Liu, man, what can I say about Gordon Liu? He's got screen presence. He can fight. He can even act. Although, it's not demonstrated here, he can handle comedy as well as the dramatic bits. His work with the pole is tremendous.
1983 and EIGHT DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER marked a dark time for the Shaw Brothers as the studio's golden boy, Alexander Fu Sheng, suffered a fatal accident early during the shooting of the film. Rumor has it that Fu Sheng had been slated for a larger role, but obviously things had to be switched up, and so Sixth Brother became relegated to staying at home being all deranged. This is also one of Liu Chia Liang's most violent movies, and I can't help but think that Fu Sheng's passing had brought about this bleak mood. I imagine Fu Sheng's death must've cast a hell of a gloomy shadow over cast & crew. And the last thing for me: I'm disappointed that this Dragon Dynasty DVD doesn't offer an audio commentary from Hong Kong action film expert Bey Logan (or any other bonus material, for that matter). What, did Bey Logan finally get a life?
On this DVD, the movie gives you the option of listening to it in either Mandarin or messed-up sounding English. Go with the Mandarin, and instead read the English sub-titles, friend.
on November 26, 2001
WHY, WHY, WHY?!? Why must they edit what is quite possibly THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME, period. I don't understand. They'll let us see a guy get half his face sliced off, but cut a very powerful scene in which the elder Yang commits suicide(by doing a 3-story-high, double flip into a flying, brain-exploding headbut on top of what I guess to be the Yang family monument, double-flips back down to the ground and dies on his feet) rather than surrender to the mongols! Despite the foul editing, this movie is so tight that it is virtually unruinable and still worthy of 5+ stars and the 12 or 13 bucks it costs.
Believe me, from the clever beginning [7 leave, 6 return(s)] to the wicked, bloody end, and excellent, intense, martial arts action from ear to ear, this flick surpasses even the Five Deadly Venoms and Master Killer.
starring Gordon "master killer" Liu, Fu Sheng, Wong Lung Wei
directed by Liu Chia Liang.
Definitely deserves your attention.
on September 16, 2013
I bought this on an old vhs bootleg about 12 years ago and swore if they ever remastered this movie i would buy it again. I never thought the day would come but it did. The picture and sound quality is superb. All the shaw bros movies that they remastered will be worth getting on blu-ray because shaw bros are miles above other old school kungfu films. This one stars Gordon Liu and Alexander Fu sheng as the lone survivers of ill fated mission when the leaders of the yang army are betrayed and ambushed by the mongals. This is one of my favorite Gordon Liu films but then most of his shaw bros movies to me are 5 star epics. It has some of the most breath taking kungfu scenes ever filmed. This move also has one of the best finales i have ever seen. It will leave even the most hard core old school kungfu fans satisfied. Its hard to believe Fu Sheng was going to be the main star and not Liu. Fu Sheng died while shooting this film and they had to rearrange it for Gordon. They did an amazing job. The score that they used in this movie was also great. It was beautiful and it really set the tone and mood for the film. Like the "36th Chamber Of Shaolin",(another great musical score) i noticed they didnt rehash it and use it in other shaw bros movies. This movie is also uncut. If you have the Crash Cinema version of this movie you will know what i'm talking about. This dvd is worth getting. Dragon Dynasty hasn't released anything since 2011. I hope they didnt go out of business. There are tons more shaw bros movies i would like to see released on dvd and blu-ray.