Killer Darts

This Shaw Brothers wuxia film from 1968 is a colorful and enjoyable mix of murder, revenge and raging teenage hormones at work. One part of it follows the basic – “I must revenge my parent’s death” syndrome – but threaded through this is a teenage love triangle that gives it a very human angle. At times it resembles Archie being pursued by Veronica and Betty – and though these teenagers are extremely deadly with a variety of weapons, like teenagers everywhere they are confused about their own feelings of love and agonize over every perceived slight.
Yu Shan, Yu Lung, Liu Wen Lung and the archeress
Revenge is in the air. The Evil One kills the wife of swordmaster, Liu Wen Lung, and for a few years Liu wanders the countryside with his disciple, servant and young son, Yu Lung, trying to track him down. In an unexpected twist the disciple, Hu Chi Feng, attempts to rape a woman and ends up stabbing the husband to death and murdering the woman with a killer dart – the secret weapon of his master. Before the woman dies she pleads with her young daughter, Yu Shan, to revenge them – to find and kill the man who uses the killer dart. The girl hides the bloodied dart in her clothes and tearfully pledges to avenge her parents someday. The disciple runs away cursed by his master – and the following day Liu spots the girl  walking on the road and takes her in as his own daughter and promises to teach her sword fighting skills. He also decides that it is time to give up the chase and to settle down in a small village and bring up his son and daughter.
The Evil One, The Green Mountain Bandit and Hu Chi Feng
Jump ahead ten years and Yu Lung and Yu Shan are now very accomplished martial artists and also very much in love – though neither has the courage to tell the other. Into this picture enters a keen eyed archer - the daughter of a wealthy landowner who sets her sights on Yu Lung. Every time he pays any attention to her, Yu Shan pouts and stomps into the forest where she takes out her anger by chopping down some trees – with her hands! Then she takes out the killer dart and swears revenge once again. Events soon take a serious turn though when a large group of thugs headed by The Green Mountain Bandit threaten the small village and the father, son and daughter decide to protect the villagers. It is soon revealed that behind the bandits are both The Evil One and Hu Chi Feng and a bloodbath of long delayed revenge lies ahead. But before that though, Yu Shan discovers that her master is the creator of the killer dart – and though horrified and broken hearted she mistakenly concludes that she must kill the man who has raised her and the father of the man she loves.
Though told in broad strokes, as the film heads towards its denouement it becomes fairly riveting with loads of action and a fair amount of suspense. Yu Shan drives the narrative – torn apart by mixed feelings of love and hate and a filial duty to her dead parents – she cannot make up her mind what to do – a Hamlet like situation. The action is great fun – not brilliantly choreographed by any means – but fairly imaginative with the utilization of various weapons, a bit of flying, interesting sets (in particular the underground dungeon filled with trap doors and booby traps) and an intensity and purpose to the killing that gives it some emotional impact. There is a certain Western (as in film genre) feel to the film with it taking place in the wide open country, a small town threatened by despicable and colorful villains that chew up the scenery as much as their victims and a few heroes who walk into their lair to settle ten years of payback.
I am afraid I don't know the names of any of these actors though I believe Yu Shan is Chin Ping. If anyone can attach a name to any of the pictures I would be grateful

My rating for this film: 7.5

Trailer