Spotty well-choreographed spear-laden Venom flick
firstname.lastname@example.org | Verona, NJ USA | 06/24/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Similar in many respects to Masked Avengers, the weapon of choice here is the spear and its variations, ie short spears, long spears, flag spears, etc. In Masked Avengers, the trident was the featured weapon. Also, as in Masked Avengers, this is a bloodier gorier Venom flick. Also, as in Masked Avengers, the plot is rather convoluted (does it matter?) and Lo Meng and Sun Chien are nowhere to be seen (though they are listed on the box). The fighting, under Chang Cheh's masterful direction and camera work, is mind boggling and nearly every conceivable "spear move" is explored. Hand to hand fighting is sparse. I'm not a big-time spear fan, therefore I was not thrilled enough to give this a 5, but the movie nonetheless is a solid entry into your Venom collection."
Flag of Iron (aka The Spearman)
Minister Dixon | 05/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the best Shaw Brothers old school flicks I've ever seen. If you don't know anything about this flick and the Venom Mob, you are not obviously a Shaw Brothers fan or this one was just "too much before your time - old timer." In this one, you will only see three of the famous five Venoms.
This one is full of action all the way through. Full of lies, treachery, and betrayal - you can't sleep and you don't know who you could really trust.
The plot picks up with the usual theme - two rival schools not liking eachother. The Eagles invites The Iron Flag to their school for a meal as a gesture of good faith and for settling their differences. The real motive was to get them on their ground and wipe them out in an ambush. The Iron Flag not trusting this "so called kind gesture" hires a hitman - The Spearman, to step in at the first sign of danger. Although The Iron Flag were victorious, their master was set up to be killed by the eldest member of their own school (played by Lu Feng) who had also hired The Spearman. During the heated portion of the fight, their teacher was killed. Unknowingly to The Spearman, the teacher was a good man. The Spearman later realized that after killing the teacher of The Iron Flag, he had been set up by the same person that hired him.
After the death of their teacher, Lu Feng becomes the head. He convinces Kuo Chui (the most versatile and gifted of the Venoms) to go into exile in order to take the heat off of the school and return later when things have smoothed over. He promised to send him money and look after his needs while in exile. Kuo never received any money from Lu Feng. Instead, he was constantly on guard because someone had hired ten killers to wipe him out. Kuo outclassed and outmatched all of them.
Kuo later learned that the name of his school had changed and that it was Lu Feng who hired the ten killers. He also learned that Lu Feng had joined forces with the rival school and began to run brothels and gambling rings. When Kuo returned, he did not receive a warm welcome. Lu Feng was still plotting behind the scenes to get rid of him and using his own followers as scapegoats to do it.
Flag-draped spears were the overall weapons of choice in this one. Usually the battle with spears can be a bit boring, but not in this one. The Venoms are the best at fighting with spears that you can get.
I would have given this flick five stars, but some of the scenes were cut out. I have this one on VHS and it's much longer. Why did they cut it? I don't have a clue. My version is quite clear - a pretty decent transfer at best. Even though some of the scenes were cut out, you will not go wrong watching this. Be careful to watch out for the millions of bootleg copies floating around out there."