Dir/Scr: Chung Chang-hwa
Set Design: Chan King-sam
Cast: Ling Yun, Hsia Fan, Lily Li, Nan-kung Hsun
1971 / Colour / D Beta / Mandarin / Chi & Eng subtitles / 80min
In the 1970s, to increase its annual output, Shaw Brothers adopted the policy of
hiring a number of popular directors from neighbouring countries such as Japan and Korea, one of whom was Chung Chang-hwa, who would later direct King Boxer (aka Five Fingers of Death , 1972), the first martial arts film from Hong Kong to become a national hit in the United States, thus paving the path for Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon a few months later. Six Assassins , made a year before King Boxer , demonstrates Chung’s proficiency in producing a low-budget actioner with a fast-paced and a well structured plot. The story takes place in the Tang Dynasty and concerns a conspiracy to assassinate a corrupt high-ranked officer, under the leadership of a masterful swordsman. Despite limited resources, Chan King-sam is able to build an abundant number of more than decent sets such as a deserted temple, a bamboo forest, the Court of Justice and the officer’s residence. Chung further makes use of some clever lighting to create effectual dramatic tension and avoids the film from being a made by- the-number line production.
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