Last Hurrah for Chivalry

Director: John Woo
Year Released: 1979
Rating: 1.5

Before he became an internationally renowned filmmaker for his bullet ballets like A Better Tomorrow, The Killer and Hard Boiled, Woo made this wuxia picture which involves two swordsmen, Chang San (Wai Pak) and Tsing Yi (Damian Lau), who fight on behalf of Kao Pang (Lau Kong) because his wedding was invaded by Pak Chung Tong (Hoi Sang Lee) ... and there's plenty of bonding and betrayal in there as well.  The plot isn't what I'd call "straight-forward" and the chop-socky "action" scenes can be very silly - it's the kind of stuff you'd expect the RZA or GZA to sample for one of their records - but you can't knock it for not trying: the actors had to have burned off a ton of calories flinging themselves around the set.  The usual Woo themes of camaraderie and trust are in there, but they'd be refined in later efforts.  Yet the vital life lesson I took away from it is: drink a lot.  You know, to stay calm ... or whenever you need to blow on lit candles.