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Life Gamble

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

For the film LIFE GAMBLE, Legendary director Chang Cheh teamed his latest star, Alexander Fu Sheng (THE BRAVE ARCHER), with some new talent - a Taiwanese Opera artist (Kuo Chue) and a powerful Chinese muscleman (Lo Meng). These two new talents would become the foundation for his internationally popular Venom series including the classic film THE FIVE VENOMS. Teaming the trio with the top supporting actors (Ku Feng and Wang Lung-wei) and the prettiest starlets (Lin Chen-chi, Shirley Yu, and Hui Ying-hung), LIFE GAMBLE is an entertaining and exciting tale of a kung-fu blacksmith taking on four famous robbers while a villainous gambling boss plots to destroy them. The film would be another classic film in the distinguished career of the greatest martial arts directors ever!

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Alexander Fu Sheng, Kuo Chue, Lo Meng and Lin Chen-chi
  • Directors: Chang Cheh
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Navarre Corporation
  • DVD Release Date: January 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001ELXSO4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,415 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael W. Jaworski on April 2, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In 1977, the maestro Chang Cheh re-teamed his "Venom" boys (before they were known as that) with Johnny Wang, Billy Tang, Simon Li (who seemed real smug in the interview feature), Fu Sheng, and a few Shaw actresses like Kara Hui & Shirley Yu (unusual for director Chang to use females in lead roles). Not the best movie from this group, but it's pretty damn good, and that's sayin' a lot, pard'. As usual with Shaw Brothers, great, colorful sets; as usual with Chang, esoteric weapons & great performances (especially Philip Kwok a.k.a. Kuo Chui & Lo Mang); as usual with Robert Tai, Liang Ting and Lu Feng, great fu on display; don't know why Robert was so disappointed with it that he took his name off of it.

Now I'll be the first to admit the first half is a bit slow going, and the theme is redundant & obvious-greed will corrupt and kill you (it was done better in "Disciples of Shaolin"-also with Fu Sheng), but there are some killer fights & good set-pieces in the second half. Not to mention a finale that must have inspired Chang's later "Flag of Iron". Navarre (I think that's the company's name who got this from Celestial) did a great presentation-beautiful, widescreen picture; re-mastered audio & subtitles. Also, a pretty good interview section with Lo Mang (really good), Ku Feng (not bad, but real long), Simon Li (dismisses his film career) & Sun Shu-Pei (also really good). Chang Cheh re-made this himself in 1993 under the title, "Hidden Hero." All fans of Shaw Brothers, Chang Cheh and old-school fu, take note.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kendrik Lau on March 19, 2009
Format: DVD
I caught this Shaw Brothers chop sockey flick on the "Kung Fu Channel", a HD cable channel that shows chop sockety flicks 24/7, most of which are Shaw Brothers productions. While most of Shaw Brothers movies revolved around only a select group of characters, "Life Gamble", instead had a ensemble cast that swelled up to at least 16.

The story basically revolved around a group of bandits (three men and a woman) who waylayed a caravan belonging to the Nan family, who in turn was "escorting" a valuable piece of jade to its rightful owner. Unwilling to share the jade amongst themselves with the flimsy excuse of the fear of incurring the wrath of the Nan family, they decided to gamble for it; with only one of them walking away with the priceless heirloom. They appointed a well-known "King of Gamblers" called Golden Lion to act as a neutral party to determine which of the 4 will win the jade.

Golden Lion had his own ideas about acquiring the jade, and so does about every well-known martial artists who lives in town who caught wind of it. Throw also into the mix is the local constable and his daughter and a retired blacksmith, who forged most of the weapons used by the aforementioned martial artists.

"Life Gamble", while featured its fair share of battle sequences, also featured intrigue and backstabbing aplenty, as each character makes and breaks alliances and reveal other ulterior motives with almost monotonous regularity. At the end of the day, practically the entire cast was wiped out; even the top billed actors are not immune from the rate of attrition. While Shaw Brothers flicks usually featured one token major female character (if at all), this movie has a whopping four; and these are not damsels in distress...all are capable black widows.
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Format: DVD
The Shaw Brothers, the company known for their many releases of Hong Kong films for many decades ran by producer Sir Run Run Shaw, knighted by the British government and founder of Shaw University in Hong Kong and even founded the HK-TVB TV network was a major power behind the company and his third brother Runme Shaw (who founded South Sea Film), the film company would become known as Shaw Brothers Studio and become the first studio to bring Hong Kong cinema with sound in 1934.

The Shaw Brothers have created over a thousand films and with several having been aired on US television and some being released on video, the 1978 film "Sheng si dou" (Life Gamble) is directed by Chang Cheh (known for the film "Chinese Super Ninjas", "Five Venoms", The Brave Archer" and "The One-Armed Swordsman), the Shaw Brothers Studio's most well-known filmmaker.

"Life Gamble" brings together talent who have appeared in his films "Five Venoms" and "Invincible Shaolin" in a martial arts story about rivals, deception and greed.

The film revolves around a a group of assassins who have stolen a highly coveted jade piece that can earn them a lot of money. The problem is that with four assassins having worked together, the question is how would they split the earnings. Because some do not want to share the profits, the only way they can come to a final decision is to go to play a game to the death in which the ruthless king of the gamblers would be in charge of the game.

But the king of the gamblers has a plan, to murder the four assassins and he would be the person that will have the jade piece in possession.
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