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The Heroic Ones (Sap saam taai bo) (1970)

  Directed by: Cheh Chang
Written by: Cheh Chang, Kuang Ni
Links: The Heroic Ones on the IMDb, Buy on Video
Genre: Action

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"13 is all the more to kick arse!" - a review by timchuma

A rollicking adventure tale, this story follows the "13 Princes" who are under orders of the Emperor to track down rebels. When they are not doing that, they drink and party all the time, drinking straight from the bladder wine casks and bull horns.

The King boasts that any of his 13 princes can defeat the enemy general who is at their gates, so a visitor named Shun Wen asks where is the 13th one. It turns out he is asleep at his post from drinking too much. When they wake him, the Wen bets him his Jade belt that he can't capture the general, prince bets his head and is told "this is no joke!"

When the 13th Prince wins, Shun cracks it and doesn't want to give up his belt. He gets to keep half of it in the end, but he still isn't happy. The king tells everyone to drink even more and the 13th Prince sculls three horns in a row.

The main part of the movie follows a mission by nine of the princes to infiltrate the rebel city and try to abduct the king. This seems to go well for them until two of the princes try to take advantage of the woman who is hiding them and the leader of their group (the 13th prince) sends them away. The two plot revenge later.

When they finally get back the king rewards them and punishes the two who came back early and they attack the rebel city again. After this Wun Shen sends an invitation to the King to come to his castle. The two shifty princes are sent and given false information to try and get the king to come back (the bloke is still annoyed about his belt.)

The king's visit to the traitor is where the film really takes off, but the amount of action in this sequence makes it hard to describe, so I'll let you see it for yourself.

I really enjoyed this movie as it had loads of great action sequences and managed to change who the main characters were fighting against several times without it being confusing. I also liked that you didn't know which characters were going to make it in some of the battles and other scenes.

It was good to see a movie based on Chinese history in which the main characters were not all Kung Fu masters, but just fighting for the Emperor to clear up the rebel scum. I would recommend this movie to people who like action adventure movies and don't mind a bit of scenery chewing from some of the cast.

timchuma gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 30 Aug 2004

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