Night Orchid (1982)

Reviewed by Golden Swallow
November 18, 2010

Adam Cheng • Don Wong Tao • Brigitte Lin • Eddy Ko • Fung Hak-On • Lu I-Chan • Alan Chui
Demon Fighter • Faster Blades, Poisonous Darts
Cheung Paang-Yee
Fung Hak-On • Alan Chui
87 Minutes
Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
MANDARIN: Dolby Digital 2.0
Tradition Chinese • *English (Custom Fan Subbed Version – Not Available on Retail DVD)
Hoker Records
1 – NTSC
Purchase & Info
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A mysterious serial killer is on the loose in the martial world, apparently murdering the friends of the famous Chu Liu Hsiang (Adam Cheng) who has gone into seclusion since the death of his missus. It’s not long before he’s got a new girlfriend (Brigitte Lin) in his riverside shack, but is there more to the relationship than meets the eye? Intrigues and subplots gradually reveal themselves in what seems to be the most confusing and complicated manner possible. Maybe it would make more sense if you read the Gu Long book it’s based on.
thoughts on the movie

To be honest even after numerous viewings I still don’t understand exactly what was going on, despite this I still find ‘Night Orchid’ to be quite enjoyable. Rather than focusing on the negative aspects (i.e the plot) I’ll concentrate on the positives – a fantastic cast (which includes bit parts for Wong Tao, Eddy Ko and Fung Hak On), awesome fighting (see below), some foxy women and some beautiful Taiwanese scenery and sets.

was it funny?
Maybe one or two light hearted moments.
How was the Action?
Possibly my favourite action director Alan Chui teamed up with Fung Hak On to choreograph the fighting scenes so, if you like fantasy swordplay style fighting, they rock! Adam Cheng isn’t known as ‘King of the Sword’ for nothing and he’s up to his usual high standards here. There’s a bit of special effects madness and plenty of wirework (with one or two disappearing ninja style characters) but I enjoy that sort of thing.
Standout performance(s)

The two leads of course! Always a pleasure to see Adam and Brigette on the screen, especially together.

Buy or Pass
6 Reasons Why You Should BUY or PASS On This Movie
1. BUY if you like Adam Cheng or Brigitte Lin.
2. BUY if you like frenetic 80’s style swordplay.
3. BUY if you enjoy picturesque Taiwanese scenery.
4. BUY to see Wong Tao as an almost invincible evil master.
5. BUY if you’re a Gu Long fan.
6. PASS because the plot is completely puzzling from beginning to end.

I think ‘Night Orchid’ must be one of those films where the director assumed the viewers would be familiar with the Gu Long book it’s adapted from, it’s a real shame because all the other aspects of the film are awesome! I’d previously only watched a crappy fullscreen VHS transfer of this it before, made worse by the English dub, and it wasn’t until I saw the widescreen Hoker print that I could appreciate the visual aspects of the film fully. Aesthetically director Cheung Paang Yee may not be up to Chor Yuan’s standards but he knows how a wuxia film should look!

The version I saw was the Hoker release with fan subs and is not commercially available.