Bandits, Prostitutes and Silver

This has been released by Xenon under the rather interesting title of Ho’s, Thugs and Scrillah – and for the most part I was pleasantly surprised at the picture quality of the tape. My thanks to Bruce Long's site for pointing this release out.

The film is really quite good – a strong, intelligent plot of love, greed, remorse and betrayal – but unfortunately Angela’s role is very secondary and she only has one fight that comes very near the end of the film.

The title almost says it all. Wang Tao is a poor wagon driver – though highly skilled in kung-fu – who has fallen in love with a prostitute – and she with him – and he is trying to save enough money to buy her freedom. But wagon driver’s don’t make much – and when a famous thief Sparrow offers him enough money to secure his lover if he will assist him in a theft of silver  – Wang can’t say no.

Wang Tao, Lo Lieh and Angela
At the same time the head of the town, Lo Lieh, has arranged for the silver to be robbed as well with his secret accomplices – the Three Scars Band. In this band of thieves is where we find our Angela! She and her husband Three Scars head the bandits and have no problem in killing to get what they want. I kept waiting for Angela Mao to reveal her true good identity – but she is in fact a baddie here (though she has a soft spot or two) – first time I have seen that. She thinks nothing of painfully pinching a man’s nipple or harshly saying to her husband “I like a strong man. He reminds me of you when you were young”. As you would expect all these conflicting groups end up at odds with one another.
There is a lot of action in this film – but it nearly all revolves around Wang – who has fights with just about everyone in the film – except Angela. Why do they hire Angela for a film – and then have her do little but stand about looking lovely – which in fact she does! Finally, she has a good very acrobatic (at one point she attacks with four cartwheels in a row) one on one with Lo Lieh which is bloody and harrowing. Angela has these nifty rotating like razors in her shoes to slice and dice – while Lo Lieh uses this miniature guillotine contraption to remove unwanted heads from people!

My rating for this film: 7.0