I have seen possibly hundreds of martial arts films...I am a fan for many years. Fists Of The White Lotus (Clan Of The White Lotus I believe is an alternate title) is among my top 10 Best martial arts films for a few reasons.
Here are some of the reasons:
1) the fight scenes are excellently choreographed with none of the cut-chop-cut film editing that often is done when either the skills of the actors is lacking or the skills of the martial arts choreography is lacking. Additionally, the fight scenes are very well lit (good lighting) which is somewhat unusual in many martial arts films that try to mask poor quality with dark and poorly lit scenes.
2) the fight scenes are both very creative (in the unique style that is displayed by Lo Lieh's character) and very realistic in the many non-weapons and weapons fights with martial arts greats like Wang Lung Wei and other 'lesser' fighters (the body guard swordsmen fight scenes are quite decent as far as secondary sequences are concerned).
3) the plot is quite good and carries through with an above average story line. There are many memorable scenes and some memorable lines as well. The film has a serious overtone yet it is creatively whitty and funny just where it needs to be. There are enough interesting training sequences, fight scenes, and other various story scenes that moves this film at an enjoyable pace.
4) the actors / actresses are really skilled martial artists, not just pretty faces or gymnasts cast in unsuitable roles. The two leading women, Mei-Hsiao (Kara Hui Ying-Hung) and Ching-Ching (Yeung Jing-Jing) are perfect in their roles and their skills match their elegance, poise, and beauty.
5) the closing fight scene is just brilliant and worth the price of admission by itself.
One thing that would have made this film even better (am I asking too much?) is more of a showcase of Wang Lung Wei and his superb talents as one of the best screen fighters of all time (my humble opinion). A talent that good, deserved a little more of the limelight (although an argument could be made that he is cast alongside two other giant talents---Liu Chia Hui and of course Lo Lieh and thus showcasing Wei more than he was, would have detracted from the obvious dynamic between Hui and Lieh).
Nonetheless, a great classic and timeless martial arts film...a MUST HAVE for any serious or casual enthusiast of the MA genre.
Boys Playing With Paper Dolls
Scott Bright | Grayslake, IL USA | 10/03/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Movie Summary: Two brothers use their complimenting fighting styles to kill an almost invincible White Lotus monk. The head of the white lotus clan takes his revenge by killing one of the brothers. The surviving brother tries out many different styles of kung fu in order to defeat the White Lotus Master. But the White Lotus only has one vulnerable spot that is well hidden. Can our hero find it before he himself is killed?My Opinion: This is a fair Shaw Brothers offering. It follows the "fight and lose and then train until he's good enough" format of kung fu movie. The training scenes are interesting and fun with the hero learning the female style of kung fu as well as how to kick the butt of a life size paper doll. The White Lotus is a very cool character with his near invincibility. The force of the air from an opponents blows make him float backwards out of range of the blows. The flashbacks to the two brothers killing the first monk are very good. I would have liked to have seen them fight the second monk together as well. Overall this is a decent and fun Shaw Brothers Kung Fu movie.DVD Quality: Video: Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1 This is a surprise! Sound: Dubbed Mono. What You Should Do: Check this our if you are a Kung Fu movie fan. If you are a huge Shaw Brothers fan like me, you are going to want to own this one and all the Shaw Scope DVDs.Related Movies To Check Out: Shaolin Challenges Ninja, Kid With the Golden Arm, Dirty Ho"
Oh My Yes!
kurlebj | Hackettstown, New Jersey United States | 03/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gordon Liu is awesome in this great old school kung-fu flick. This movie is a real treat for pure kung-fu fans as it is one of the only movies I have seen depicting the tiger/crane style. Also, has a very interesting depiction of a soft style combined with the tiger/crane style.Overall the movie is extremely entertaining and has some great fight scenes and some very interesting and unique training scenes. Pick this one up. It's an important assett to your kung-fu collection."
Lo Lieh Was The Best Pai Mei
Leslie S. Thurman | Salinas Ca United States | 12/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lo Lieh not only stars in this classic Kung Fu tale. He also directed it. Gordon Liu also stars. Almost the exact same cast from Executioners of Shaolin. But Fist Of The White Lotus a much better movie in my opinion. Lo Lieh (as always) is such a good villain. You almost feel sorry for him in the end. One thing that stood out in this movie to me. Was the amount of wire work. Most old school Kung Fu movies used very little, if any wire work at all. Wire work or not check this movie out."
Weightless White Lotus!!
Kenneth Ndelle | Elkridge, MD United States | 05/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you really want to enjoy this film, you should try to see the prequel "Executioners from Shaolin". In this film we see Lo Lieh again reprising the role of Bai Mei the white lotus chief. He defies the laws of gravity by applying weightlessness to his style, which makes it practically impossible for anyone to beat him. He spins with the speed of light which totally bamboozles his opponents. After a series of severe walloping, Gordon Liu manages to defeat him using acupuncture to find his weak spot. The fights which are mostly between Liu and the white lotus are quite good. There is a lot of humor as well... Liu trying to break the white lotus with a ballet dance style tactic. This is good for old school martial arts fans."