Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Beach Of The War Gods (1973)
As Japanese pirates are raiding up and down the Chinese coast, a General gathers together some men and turns the local fishermen into soldiers in order to have them fight back.
Mix of Japanese samurai films and traditional Chinese Martial arts movies is pretty much a non-stop action film. Supposedly based on a real incident, this film plays like a spaghetti western version of the Seven Samurai relocated to China. (Yeah, I know how redundant that sounds but if you see the film you'll know what I mean.) After a brief set-up the film becomes a series of battles as the pirates make repeated attempts to attack the fishing village. The action is very well done, blending a variety of styles into an almost seamless whole.
It's hard to discuss beyond that because the brief film (it runs only 95 minutes) is essentially one long set piece. There are no real characters other then the General. The villagers all blend together, and the men they hire are really just their "quirk'; the guy with all the knives is just a guy with all these knives. One really wishes they had taken a couple more minutes to build some characters instead of just the action.
If you don't mind just action and want a martial arts film that isn't run of the mill, I'd definitely give this film a try.
(Reviewers at IMDB mention poor dubbing. I saw this on a DVD as part of Joy Sales Legendary Collection series where the stunning picture was matched with a poor Chinese vocal track that seems to be separate from the film. I know that all Chinese films from the period were post-dubbed and that there are often two vocal tracks [Mandarin and Cantonese], but whichever one they used here was a poor choice)