Issue #265            HOME          E-mail:        BACK ISSUES             May 23rd, 2005

Clan of the White Lotus
(1980; Shaw Brothers)

Cantonese: Hung Man-ding saam por bak lin gaau
Mandarin: Hong Wending san po bai lian jiao
English: Hung Man-ding/Hong Wending Defeats The White Lotus Clan Three Times
Alternate English Title: The Fists of the White Lotus


  RATING: 8/10


Lo Lieh makes his directorial debut and stars in this excellent period kung fu effort, which is a follow-up of sorts to Lau Kar-leung's EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN. The release of Shaolin students from prison, and their plan to rebuild Shaolin Temple, is perceived as a threat to The White Lotus Clan. Their leader, The White Lotus (Lo), orders his followers to slaughter the rebels to avenge the death of his classmate, Pai Mei. Some of the Shaolin fighters manage to escape, including Hung Man-ting (Gordon Lau Kar-fai), though most die in the ensuing attacks. After spending time working on his Tiger Crane style of kung fu, Man-ting sets out to challenge The White Lotus but is thoroughly outclassed by the old master. The problem with Man-ting's technique is not one usually encountered: he is using too much force and must learn a more gentle form of combat to counter White Lotus' powers! After much practice, he merges a new effeminate style with the Crane Beak and seeks out White Lotus again. Although most effective, he is unable to locate his opponent's vulnerable spot. Badly injured, he is saved from certain death only by a revolutionist's acupuncture treatment. This inspires Man-ting to add yet another facet to his martial arts.

Gordon Lau Lo Lieh

Likeable heroes, a wonderful villain, and kung fu (choreographed by Lau Kar-leung) that is both outstanding and offbeat combine to make this a superior Shaw Brothers effort. In contrast to EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN, the tone here is generally lighter (Man-ting must also adopt womanly duties, like embroidery and childcare, to perfect the "Woman’s Fist"), but there is still a fair amount of character development. The various skirmishes are well-staged and the training sequences are particularly good. On the basis of what he achieves here, it is a genuine shame that Lo directed so few films. Kara Hui Ying-hung (in excellent form as Man-ting’s sifu), Lin Hui-huang, Johnny Wang Lung-wei, Yeung Ching-ching, and Hsiao Hou also appear.

L to R: Gordon Lau, Kara Hui Ying-hung, Yeung Ching-ching Lin Hui-huang


The presentation looks first-rate throughout: crisp, colorful, and vividly contrasted, with only a few slight instances of shimmering visible. The re-mix adds some tolerable foley FX, but also layers new music on to a couple of the many library cues used. One other complaint: the English subtitles are synced to the Mandarin track, which causes them to not always appear when necessary, if one views the film in Cantonese. In addition to the usual Celestial extras (which thankfully include the original theatrical trailer), we have ELEGANT TRAILS: GORDON LIU CHIA HUI, a 6 minute interview with Liu/Lau and a look at his other career as a rock singer!


This DVD is available at:

Images in this review courtesy of Intercontinental Video Ltd. To read captions, hover mouse over image.

Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2005. All Rights Reserved.


- Hong Kong Release

NTSC – Region 3 Only

Intercontinental Video #104688

Dolby Digital 5.1

Post-synced Cantonese and Mandarin Language

Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional Chinese

12 Chapters

16:9 Enhanced (2.35:1)

89 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)


- Australia: M 15+

Nova Scotia: 14

Ontario: PG

Quebec: 13+

Singapore: PG

Contains moderate violence and brief nudity

10 A Masterpiece
9 Excellent
8 Highly Recommended
7 Very Good
6 Recommended
5 Marginal Recommendation
4 Not Recommended
3 Poor
2 Definitely Not Recommended
1 Dreadful