HK Cinema - 1975

After the One Armed Swordsman, Chang Cheh continued to make a number of successful kung-fu films for the Shaw Brothers. In 1970 there was Vengeance, Return of the One Armed Swordsman (1972), Boxer from Shantung (1972), Blood Brothers (1973), but with Five Masters of Death (aka Five Shaolin Masters) Cheh did some of his best work.
Chang Cheh

He hired what he came to call his first team – David Chiang, Ti Lung, Chen Kuan Tai, Fu Sheng and Chi Kuan Chun – and they were to star in many of his future films. Ti Lung and David Chiang in particular became big stars from this film.
David Chiang was born into an acting family and had been in films since he was a child. Though very small of build, he became a kung-fu star. He had been in The Heroic Ones, Vengeance and The Return of the One Armed Swordsman before Five Masters of Death. During the seventies he appeared in a number of other kung-fu films – often teamed up with Ti Lung, but once the kung-fu craze slowed down so did his popularity. He tried to make the transition to modern action films – Just Heroes – but without great success.
Ti Lung on the other hand was eventually able to make that transition. Ti Lung was well versed in martial arts having studied karate, tae kwan do and other forms. He became one of the biggest stars of the kung-fu era appearing in many of the same films as Chiang. After a few down years with the ebbing popularity of kung-fu films, Lung made a comeback with A Better Tomorrow in 1986 and then ABT II in 1987. There were some other good films after these – The Bare Footed Kid, Blade of Fury and Drunken Master II – but these days he is primarily doing TV.
One of the other Five Masters – Alexander Fu Sheng – had a brief but shining career. He became very popular for his martial arts skills and also for his rugged good looks. He appeared in a number of classics besides Five Masters – Na Cha the Great, Disciples of Shaolin, Ten Tigers of Kwangtung, the Brave Archer series, Cat vs Rat and one of Chang Cheh’s more interesting films The Chinatown Kid which takes place in modern day San Francisco.  Unfortunately, in 1983 he was killed in a car crash. He was 29 years old at the time.