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KyFi

The Bloody Escape

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Ok, I watched this for the first time, and this is definitely a hidden gem for me!

**spoilers follow**

Ok, in this 1975 Sun Chung-directed basher, the plot is very reminiscent of Avenging Eagle, although it's set in Republic Era China (1920s, 30s ? ) Chen Kuan Tai is a tough kung fu fighter who, as an orphan child, was brought up in a bandit gang, where he's now become one of their top thugs. The previous chief had a policy---"don't kill, don't rape, and only take half their money," and CKT thought that was OK. However, when the new chief takes over, his policy is basically "kill, rape and take ALL their money", and CKT doesn't want to go along with this. When a young lady (Shih Szu) is kidnapped by the gang, her parents killed in front of her, and she is about to be raped by the chief, CKT goes ballistic, fights the chief and escapes with Shih Szu.

She gets to safety, and CKT holes up in a nearby town, and starts work as a shoemaker, with a wise old man. CKT tells him his story, and the old man teaches CKT how to make an honest living, and that even when the bandits only took half of someone's money, they were still evil. CKT appreciates this, and decides to leave his old life behind. But now, his old gang is out to track him down and kill him before he can talk to the police, and Shih Szu and her policeman fiancee are looking for him to get him to testify.

Finally, CKT has to go back, and pretty much take out the entire gang single-handedly.

I loved this movie, and I'm once again reminded that Chen Kuan Tai was a great actor. Unlike his confident character in Boxer from Shantung, here he's more of an indecisive, conflicted guy, struggling to do the right thing. And I would flat out say that this is the best dramatic performance that I've seen from Shih Szu. She goes from a helpless, terrified victim in the beginning, to a strong, principled woman who seeks out CKT to thank him, and give him advice. And that was kind of the funny thing about this one---instead of the woman telling him to run away, or go to the police, she tells CKT that the only way this will be over is if he goes back and takes out the gang! And that he does. Pretty cool when some of the gang then sides with CKT, and rather than the usual tragic bloodbath ending, you actually get a fairly happy ending, even though CKT doesn't get EVERYTHING he wants. XD

There were just some really nicely filmed scenes in this one, too. When the fancy, well-dressed Shih Szu goes to find CKT, and hears he's working in the casino, she slowly walks up the stairs of the empty, closed casino, where the once-arrogant bandit CKT is now on his hans and knees scrubbing the floor by himself, and the two of them meet----great scene.

As far as the action, it's pretty standard mid-70's basher stuff, along the line of Boxer from Shantung. Nothing special, but well-done. But as far as story and performances, I think this one might make its way to my top 10.

Anybody else like this one? I don't seem to have heard too much about it.

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Love this film, love Chen Kuan Tai's acting, I just dig when he plays characters like this. Ironic that I was just watching a Charles Bronson film today called Death Hunt and it reminded me of the Bloody Escape. Had this film been directed by Cheng Cheh it probably would of been a lot like Boxer From Shantung, but Sun Chung made the character a bit more humble and in need of guidance. Though it is a first draft of Avenging Eagle it has a more realistic less campy tone which serves it well.

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Had this film been directed by Cheng Cheh it probably would of been a lot like Boxer From Shantung, but Sun Chung made the character a bit more humble and in need of guidance.

I'd like to know more of the backstory on the making of this film. Apparently CC started making it in early '73 (or earlier) - though it didn't get released until Oct '75. ( I posted some scans last year from SS/Mar '73). That's a 2 1/2 year delay! Wonder what the hold up was. And also if CC started and SC finished or if it was a back & forth type thing.

While I enjoyed CC's co-directed works (with Pao for example), this film had a odd vibe to it. I only watched it once (when it first was remastered) so can't give specifics but it reminded me of a comic book where two different inkers are used. The styles of the two would clash and take you out of the story. Anyhow, that's how I remember it. Would like to revisit the film in the near future and take another look at it.

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Interesting---thanks for the info, teako. If that's the case that both CC and Sun Chung worked on it, I'd tend to agree with Iron Boat that Chung's contribution was to make CKT's character a bit more humble and less sure of himself. Also, CC wasn't that big on strong women characters, whereas in this one Shih Szu is very confident and morally self-assured, to the point that she's a bit of a mentor to CKT (somewhat similar to her role in Avenging Eagle). I would think that's more from Sun Chung.

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Guest Markgway

Good film as I recall.

I believe Chang Cheh worked on the film uncredited, but more in a supervisory role (I think he also contributed to the script).

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(I think he also contributed to the script).

You're right on that. In his Memoir book, it lists him with Ni Kuang as co-writers.

To answer one of my own earlier questions....

I found this small pic from Feb '73, so Sun was definitely part of the film from the get-go.

sun73.jpg

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Yes good movie, I found it a lesser effort than Boxer from Shantung, it's been a while since I watched it but for me the difference is the lack of set, it took place in that small dusty town, as I remember almost all the fights are outside.

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Guest Markgway

Shaws often had Chang supervise younger directors. Sometimes he was credited, sometimes not.

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