Liou Wen-lung (Fang Mien)
returns home to find his village a smoking ruin and his wife on the
verge of death, both the work of the villainous Chau Chiu (Ma Ying).
Liou tracks Chau down and flings a "killer dart" into his
target; in order to save himself, Chau chops off his left hand and
swears that he will return one day seeking revenge. Shortly thereafter,
disreputable pupil Hu Chi-feng (Chang Pei-san) slays an innocent couple
and escapes before Liou can kill him. The murders have left young
Jin Yu-sien an orphan, so Liou accepts the girl and instructs her
in kung fu. Ten years pass and Yu-sien (Chin Ping) turns into an accomplished
swordswoman, her heart set on her teachers son, Liou Yu-long
(Yueh Hua). However, their rich benefactors daughter (Shen Yi)
does her best to ruin their affair, while Chi-feng convinces Yu-sien
that her teacher is the murderer she seeks.
An early effort from director Ho Meng-hua,
KILLER DARTS suffers from a number of plot contrivances (eg. the otherwise
stately and sober Liou Wen-lung being blind drunk at a key moment)
in order to keep the story moving along. Some of the staging is just
as awkward, but the duels are consistently rousing and the pretty,
pouty Chin Ping is both lithe and fierce in the way that makes the
heroines of these films so appealing. The inevitable reappearance
of Chau (complete with a dart-firing mechanism attached to his stump)
occurs in the final third and he is accompanied by a squad of recruited
killers (including Wei Ping-ao, Han Ying-chieh, and Dean Shek Tien).
As it turns out, these brigands play almost no role in the finale
but there is so much going on, they are not missed.