Bandits, Prostitutes and
This has been released by Xenon under the rather
interesting title of Ho’s, Thugs and Scrillah – and for the most part I
was pleasantly surprised at the picture quality of the tape. My thanks
to Bruce Long's site for
pointing this release out.
The film is really quite good – a strong, intelligent
plot of love, greed, remorse and betrayal – but unfortunately Angela’s
role is very secondary and she only has one fight that comes very near
the end of the film.
The title almost says it all. Wang Tao is a
poor wagon driver – though highly skilled in kung-fu – who has fallen in
love with a prostitute – and she with him – and he is trying to save enough
money to buy her freedom. But wagon driver’s don’t make much – and when
a famous thief Sparrow offers him enough money to secure his lover if he
will assist him in a theft of silver – Wang can’t say no.
At the same time the head of the town, Lo Lieh,
has arranged for the silver to be robbed as well with his secret accomplices
– the Three Scars Band. In this band of thieves is where we find our Angela!
She and her husband Three Scars head the bandits and have no problem in
killing to get what they want. I kept waiting for Angela Mao to reveal
her true good identity – but she is in fact a baddie here (though she has
a soft spot or two) – first time I have seen that. She thinks nothing of
painfully pinching a man’s nipple or harshly saying to her husband “I like
a strong man. He reminds me of you when you were young”. As you would expect
all these conflicting groups end up at odds with one another.
There is a lot of action in this film – but it
nearly all revolves around Wang – who has fights with just about everyone
in the film – except Angela. Why do they hire Angela for a film – and then
have her do little but stand about looking lovely – which in fact she does!
Finally, she has a good very acrobatic (at one point she attacks with four
cartwheels in a row) one on one with Lo Lieh which is bloody and harrowing.
Angela has these nifty rotating like razors in her shoes to slice and dice
– while Lo Lieh uses this miniature guillotine contraption to remove unwanted
heads from people!
My rating for this film: 7.0