The Brave Archer

1977 [CHINESE]

Action / Drama / Fantasy

Plot summary

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720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.09 GB
Chinese 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 2 min
P/S 1 / 1
2.03 GB
Chinese 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 2 min
P/S 2 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by phillip-587 / 10

Magnificent epic start to the series

I can't believe the low score for this Chang Cheh epic. I think it is partly expectation (at least in the West). This is not a kung fu film with a minimal story to hold it together but a sweeping, rich story (based on Louis Cha's 'Legend of the Condor Heroes) that includes fighting and some kung fu. I would like to call this storyfu films. Like a Dicken's book (and most Chinese books) it contains a lot of characters, some of whom are meant to be people, others are attributes and others 'Heroes' in the more than human sense. The sets are wonderful with rich costumes and some very good acting - with Alexander Fu Sheng in top form and even has a romance in this film. If you like Chinese history / mythology watch this film and the others in the series. Magnificent epic with Chang Cheh in full control only spoilt by some editing holes (it probably was much too long originally for the studio) leading to confusion at times as to quite who is doing what to whom.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca6 / 10

Not for the faint of heart

THE BRAVE ARCHER is the first of a four-part film series made by the Shaw Brothers studio as an adaptation of a Louis Cha novel of the 1950s. The films were directed by Chang Cheh and starred Alexander Fu Sheng as the eponymous hero who undergoes a massive journey, transforming from a put-upon youth to a brave hero by the end of the series. It's not for the faint of heart, either; this film doesn't really have much of a climax, instead merely setting up the sequel, and some of the characters introduced at the outset don't even appear yet. Watching it is a massive undertaking.

I had no idea what to expect from this film, but the end result is a good one. It's not one of my favourite Shaw movies for a number of reasons, and chief of these is the action. There are some brief fight scenes here but they're heavily outweighed by the dense plotting, which throws a ton of information at the viewer constantly. It's not one of those movies which you can watch while distracted - you need your full attention just to keep up with what's being portrayed.

A huge and complex cast adds to the depth of the thing, with each character representing a different faction and various rivalries and teamings up between them. The film is fine looking which you'd expect by Shaw standards, and eminently watchable. It's the constant flow of familiar faces that make this such a fun experience. Fu Sheng and Tien Niu are the couple at the centre of the tale and their romantic scenes come as a surprise given Cheh's usual sidelining of women in his films.

Wang Lung Wei, Fan Mei Sheng, Chan Shen, and Danny Lee play various adversaries who come and go as the story progresses. Kara Hui has a small part but is breathlessly beautiful in it. Ku Feng is cast against type as a friendly beggar and Philip Kwok is almost unrecognisable beneath a huge grey wig. The other Venoms are here too: Chiang Sheng has unnamed cameos, Lu Feng is excellent in an early role, Wang Li appears, and Lo Meng is an ally who hangs around in the background a lot. Li Yi-Min is an arrogant prince. One of my favourite characters is Dick Wei, who has an important role early on in the proceedings. Treat THE BRAVE ARCHER not as a complete film but merely the first quarter of a bigger undertaking that's here to set up the story, similar to THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.

Reviewed by poe4267 / 10

The Prince and the Pauper, Shaw Brothers style...

The opening introduction of the major players in this one takes some time, but it's all for the best: this is a LONG story, and there's a LOT of exposition to be done. (It helps that the version I saw had commentary by Brian Camp- whose martial arts movie reviews can be found here on the IMDb-, as he manages to flesh out a lot of what would otherwise be almost impossible-to-follow story.) When Alexander Fu Sheng's father and a friend agree to hide a severed head, it leads to both of them being killed and one of them being skinned (a Kung Fu manual has been tattooed on his back). (The "skin" is actually a piece of plastic, so there's very little in the way of gross-out fx.) Fu Sheng and his father's friend's son are separated and take very divergent paths (the other kid grows up rich, while Fu Sheng doesn't). At one point, Fu Sheng is attacked by a snake that's been fed gen sing for years and he bites it and inadvertently drinks its blood. This gives him super powers. He falls for a young lady who disguises herself as a beggar, thus giving the movie a rare romantic element that works out nicely. There are a lot of interesting characters throughout (more characters than you can shake a three-sectional staff at, in fact, including a blind woman who lives in a cave),but the fights, while good, are all much too brief. Chiang Sheng and Kuo Choi are both nigh unrecognizable and there's another character who peels off his face at one point only to reveal the same face underneath... The ending seems a bit rushed (which is nothing new for a martial arts movie),but there ARE several sequels.

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