Whiplash

In attempting to locate and watch some of the films of the fighting femmes of the sixties and seventies it is often necessary to watch many of these films without sub-titles. This clearly detracts from many of these films, but they can still be rewarding depending on certain factors – action, cinematography, locales etc. I must confess to often finding myself fast-forwarding through parts with lengthy dialogue in particular when the actor I am interested in is not involved.  I am just prefacing this because this was the fact with this film and a few others that I am hoping to review in the near future.

This film stars Cheng Pei Pei who I liked so much in the classic Come Drink with Me. Here she is the daughter of a missing man who owns an inn that is seemingly in the middle of nowhere. She is by herself at the inn when seven men attack her for reasons that were not very clear to me. The fight is very good as Pei Pei utilizes various weapons to fend them off. Finally a cease-fire is called.

Later that night around a campfire, Pei Pei performs a wonderful dance/song/drum playing number for the men. Pei Pei was a trained dancer and this strange interlude in the film is quite a treat. She wears such a huge smile on her face while dancing that I couldn’t help but think that dance must have been her real love. Of course there is not much else for her to smile about in a film that becomes increasingly more downbeat as it goes on. Pei Pei sings and dances the men into a deep sleep and when they awaken they find themselves tied to one another. No nothing kinky being planned by Pei Pei; instead she forces them to walk to a series of caves far into the mountains where she knew her father had planned to go.
Once they reach the caves she unties them and they immediately attack her. It also soon appears that there are other individuals already at the cave who are willing to kill to keep people from discovering what is in the cave. All of this leads to a showdown that gets very down, dirty, brutal and deadly by the end.
Taking into account that I really had no idea what was going on in this film, I still enjoyed it for the most part. Primarily for Pei Pei of course.  She has a number of action scenes – some with knife, whip or crossbow – but others that are hand to hand. Her martial arts skills are fairly minimal, but due to her dancing background she is very fluid and has amazing leg flexibility and extension. This just makes watching her a pleasure. She also has an opportunity to do some acting here and she seems to quite get into it.