Of course, in the middle of all this is some reasonably well-choreographed martial arts swordplay (and some flag play, of course) and hand-to-hand combat, all in all, pretty average moves for a Shaw Brothers flick. If Flag of Iron had been cut, say, by 30 minutes or so, this could have been a top-of-the-line kung fu film to remember. Nevertheless, Shaw Brothers completists will be happy to get their hands on this flashy new Blu-ray reissue.
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Played straight for most of the weapons. Lo Hsin's and Yun Liang's swords, the Rambler's spear, the Butcher's cleaver, and the like. Acrofatic: One of Lo Hsin's earlier, minor enemies, the Butcher. He's huge, overweight, with his absolutely massive gut bulging out of his robes, and yet he moves with surprising agility and puts up a really dangerous fight with only his short meat cleaver as weapon. Badass Cape: Most of the Iron Flag Clan experts wears cool-looking black and red robes in every single one of their fights, including Iron Leopard Luo Hsin, Iron Monkey Yuan Lang and Iron Tiger Cao Fung. Bag of Kidnapping: Early on in the film, the fate of a young woman captured by the Eagle Clan, which Lo Hsin and Yun Liang uncovers and publicly exposes, releasing the woman captive before fighting the clan. Band of Brothels: The Eagle Clans runs an illicit Human Trafficking business and uses a high-end brothel as front for their shady businesses. Blade on a Stick: Spears, halberds and pikes of all sizes shows up throughout the entirety of the film, mostly being wielded by the heroes. Notably the Rambler with his dual mini-spears, and Lo Hsin and Yun Liang who battles Cao Fung at the end with a extended spear duel. The Butcher: One of the many killers of the film have this nickname, and is an assassin who masquerades... as a butcher. Carnival of Killers: The Ten Killers of the Underworld, who shows up to challenge The Rambler, Lo Hsin and Yun Liang . One of the killers is The Accountant who uses a weaponized abacus. Another is a Hitman with a Heart who ends up aiding the heroes. Destination Defenestration: Iron Monkey Luo Xin kills two of his opponents by kicking their blades back into their guts, through their backs, and sending them flying backwards through a tavern's windows with the bloody blades still sticking out their guts when they land. Dual Wield: The Rambler wields dual shortspears in the final battle. Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: With the Five Venoms Gang playing prominent characters, and most of the Shaws' stuntmen and professional action icons showing up... yeah. Feather Motif: The members of the 14 Eagles Clan wear tall, plumed feathers in their hair as sign of allegiance to their clan. The leaders notably have feathers as tall as their heads. Flechette Storm: The Rambler's spear, once it was used by Lo Hsun and Yun Liang at the end of the film. Besides a projectile launcher on its front, its back also contains an automatic needle-launcher, which can fire hundreds of needles all at once. This is the special weapon used to overpower Cao Fung in the final battle. Gorn: Buckets and buckets of it. High-Pressure Blood: They show up throughout the movie in entire geysers. The most notable being how Cao Fung the Big Bad meets his end, getting two spears wielded by Lo Hsin and Yun Liang through his stomach, leading to an entire fountain of karo syrup going vertically skywards. Human Pincushion: Two of the Iron Flag brothers ends up in this state while attacking several mooks armed with bows and arrows, leading the charge into the villa. The good news is that they managed to kill all the archers before they succumb to multiple arrow wounds. Cao Fung, the main villain ends up in this state when the Rambler's spear is revealed to contain a hidden needle launcher in it's back, which fires and impales hundreds and hundreds of tiny needles all over his face, body and guts. In a Single Bound: The Rambler, Lo Hsin and Yun Liang, and most fighters of the Iron Flag clan can leap dozens of meters into the air unassisted. In the Back: The Rambler gets mortally wounded in this fashion at the ending. Light Is Good: Played straight with the Rambler, the only hero whose attire is completely white, including his white Martial Arts Headband. Unlike other characters whom are somewhat morally ambiguous, he's pure through and through. Made of Iron: The Rambler; in the finale, he gets a spear-polearm combo with a flag attached shoved into his back, which goes cleanly through his gut before embedding into a wall in front of him. His response is to tear off his clothes, shove it into the hole in his guts, and then grab his mini-spears and continue killing mooks. Major Injury Underreaction: The Rambler doesn't seem to flinch even with a gaping hole in his midsection, casued by a flung spear that goes clean through. Mook Horror Show: The mooks working under Cao Fung at the end have this reaction when they realize The Rambler, despite having a spear shoved cleanly through his guts, is somehow still alive... and capable of fighting back. Imagine their horror witnessing this man, drenched almost entirely in blood with a gaping hole through his guts, somehow still capable of charging towards them with his spears, and somehow killing them in droves... Only a Flesh Wound: Taken to the extreme, where the Rambler can keep on fighting after getting a spear shoved cleanly through his guts. Red Baron: Most of the named characters have cool nicknames befitting their status as killers in the martial world. There's the heroes Iron Leopard Luo Xin, Iron Monkey Yuan Lang, White-Robed Rambler Yan Xiu, the villain Iron Tiger Cao Fung, and minor baddies like the Killer Butcher, Flying Eagle, Iron Abacus, Iron Axe, and the like. Slashed Throat: Loads of it, with plenty of close-ups on the gaping holes in the victim's - mostly mooks - trachea spewing red sauce all over the place. Swiss-Army Weapon: The Rambler's spear, which can extend when needed, contains a projectile launcher in it's tip, and a hidden catch in it's back that fires hundreds of tiny needles. White Shirt of Death: On the Rambler, whose white robes ends up getting full of red at the ending. The World's Expert on Getting Killed: The legion of expert killers and assassins, with awesome nicknames like \"The Butcher\", \"Iron Abacus\", \"Crimson Eagle\" and the like, sent to challenge Lo Hsin. They all die in their first battle against him.
THE FLAG OF IRON Another cult classic from the Shaw Brothers Studio, The Flag of Iron is a quintessential Hong Kong tale of rivals, betrayal and family feuds. When the master of the Iron Flag clan is killed by a mysterious assassin known only as Spearman, it sets off an explosive chain of events which pits two brothers against each other in an action-packed adventure of fist flying fury. Directed by Cheh Chang (The One-Armed Swordsman, Five Venoms), this kinetic and highly influential Kung Fu picture, mixes traditional storytelling with more modern presentation techniques, layering acrobatics, the use exotic weaponry and quick as lightening fight sequences to produce a sure fire entertaining hit, which no serious collector of martial arts movies can be without.Bonus Materials
But holy hell is it ever a shame that 88 Films only released their The Flag of Iron (1980): Limited Edition and Legendary Weapons of China (1982): Limited Edition four months after they hit our shores rather than dropping those on us as their debut titles. What a statement that would have made, like jumping into a room and roundhouse kicking the first 10 people you see! Because these two movies will absolutely, positively melt your face off and are a damn sight better than Disciples of Shaolin (1975) with its myriad of problems, fun though that too may be.
We also get a more cerebral main villain with Chow Feng, who is superbly played by Lu Feng. He is a master politician who masks his deviousness with a veneer of civility, manipulating all of those around him. His initial corrupting of the police by offering them a solution to avoid difficulty after the master's death is just the tip of where he will head. It also gives the character of Lo a bit more depth as, despite wanting to believe Iron Monkey's words, he finds himself conflicted as he struggles to come to terms with that his own martial big brother can be behind it all. It gives a nicely cynical viewpoint to the world of martial cinema where the idea of righteousness is only surface gloss. Philip Kwok as per normal in the Venom movies gets to take the lead as Lo and brings his usual athleticism to the part. Chiang Sheng gets less to do but holds his own physically.
As with any Venom movie, you will either love the non-stop action and ignore the slight storyline or detest the movie if you need something more substantial. If you are in the latter category, then chances are you probably not really going to be watching these movies anyway. Check realism at the door, ignore the plot and just enjoy a series of well-crafted action sequences. Great fun.
Laxmi Rajput is a writer at Fandomwire. She finished her Post Graduation in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Business News writer for a year. But her interest in entertainment and pop culture compelled her to find a way towards Entertainment Journalism. She has worked across various fields and has 2 years of experience in content writing. She likes reading, music, movies, and traveling. She aspires to become a fiction writer in the future.
Lt. Col. David Coppler instructs actor Terrence Howard on the controls of an F-16 Fighting Falcon simulator to help prepare him for his role in the movie \"Iron Man\" at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Colonel Coppler is the 772nd Test Squadron commander. Parts of the movie are being filmed at Edwards AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jet Fabara) 59ce067264