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Issue #195 HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES January 19th, 2004

The Shadow Whip
(1970; Shaw Brothers)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Ying ji sun bin
Mandarin: Ying zi shen bian
English: Mystical Shadow Whip

COME DRINK WITH ME stars Cheng Pei-pei and Yueh Hua (image) re-united for this pleasing Shaw Brothers period adventure, which unfolds in the snowy countryside. Cheng plays Yang Kaiyun, who helps to run a village guesthouse but wields a whip with great ferocity and accuracy. Her talents attract the attention of swordsman Wang Jianxin (Yueh), who suspects that her master must be Fang Chengtian (Tien Feng), a notorious thief known as "The Shadow Whip." He is quite correct: after stealing some expensive jewels, Fang went into seclusion for 15 years. However, both Wang and Hong Dapeng (Ku Feng), a mysterious master who can walk across snow without leaving footprints, now know the truth. The latter is in league with brigands, known as The Serial Trio (led by Wang Hsia), whom Kaiyun had previously encountered. Wang seeks to avenge the reputation of his uncle, which was destroyed by Fang's crime, but he begins to question Hong's actions and motives.

Some of the fight sequences have not aged well, with awkward wirework and very noticeable undercranking (a problem heightened by the fact that the video master has been converted from PAL and left at 25 frames-per-second), but the use of whips is a very refreshing change of pace and they pass muster as a believably savage weapon. There are some "interior/exterior" sets but also a great deal of genuine location work and the snow-covered backgrounds lend much visual interest. A few scenes cannot help but recall COME DRINK WITH ME, particularly one in which Cheng vanquishes a dozen opponents at the inn, but director Lo Wei (who also has a supporting role) is not interested in replicating King Hu's artistry. Instead, he delivers what audiences of the day were more than happy to see: a lively action programmer with a reasonably intricate and satisfying storyline.

Cover art courtesy Intercontinental.

Tien Feng (left) and Cheng Pei-pei. Image courtesy Intercontinental.
Intercontinental #101151 (HK label)

Dolby Digital 5.1

Post-synced Mandarin Language

Optional Subtitles in English, Traditional Chinese, Malaysian, and Indonesian

12 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Clips

Enhanced for 16:9 Displays

Letterboxed (2.35:1)

Coded for Region 3 Only

NTSC Format

78 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Contains moderate violence

DVD menu courtesy Intercontinental.

Ontario: PG
Singapore: PG


The visuals are crisp and clean in the vast majority of scenes, though prominent stains can be detected during an early sequence set outdoors. Also, the image quality degrades considerably during a battle scene in chapter 9, with the dim, grainy picture evidently caused by post-production acceleration. The re-mix gives the audio a reasonable amount of dimensionality without compromising the original mono to a great extent. The supplements are the norm for Celestial: video promo spots, a gallery of behind-the-scenes pics and lobbycards, worthless "production notes," and bios/filmographies.

THE SHADOW WHIP is available at Poker Industries.

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