Killer Darts
KILLER DARTS
(ZHUI HUN BIAO) 1968

Director: Ho Meng-hua

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Killer Darts Kaniller Darts (Zhui hun biao, 1968) has an epic beginning with fiery mayhem & destruction as violent bandits ride through a village. It's strictly an attention-grabber, but it works. The film is off, so to speak, like a dart.

Liou Wen Lung (Fang Mien) is a master of sword & of the killer darts. The latter are pernicious weapons, poison-tipped, so he has put the darts aside & rarely uses them, rarely teaches their use to his students.

Alas he did teach Hu Chi Feng (Chang Pei Shan) in their use. For some while Hu Chi Feng disguises his true nature as a murderer & rapist.

Chau Chiu (Ma Ying), the villainous bandit king, cuts off his own arm to survive the darts, & will strive later for revenge. Liou Wen Lung & his young son Yu Long (who grows up to be played by Yueh Hua), with Ah Fu their chubby aide, desire revenge against the one-armed bandit, for the sake of Yu Long's mother/Wen Lung's wife.

But for a long time the bandit Chau Chiu is not to be found, & it provides some years for the boy to be raised up as an avenger.

Killer DartsAnother young mother, likewise victimized, on her last breath told her daughter Jin Yu Sien (when grown, played by Chin Ping) to avenge her against a man who used poison darts.

Liou Wen Lung takes the girl in as a pupil & foster-daughter, so she grows up gaining great skill, trained alongside the boy Yu Long.

For a long time she does not know her own sifu is a master of the killer darts, & will one day leap to an unfortunate conclusion when she finds out.

Another young woman, Heung Kam Lin (Shen Yi), is expert with bow & arrow, & has a crush on Yu Long. But it is Jin Yu Sien & Yu Long who love one another. They believe nothing can come between them, & after ten years training together, they expect never to be apart.

Killer DartsEach, however, has grown up with the intent of avenging their respective parents, & they just might find themselves having to make hard choices that put them in conflict.

Liou Wen Lung (Fang Mien) is a master of sword & of the killer darts. The latter are pernicious weapons, poison-tipped, so he has put the darts aside & rarely uses them, rarely teaches their use to his students.

Alas he did teach Hu Chi Feng (Chang Pei Shan) in their use, who for some while disguises his true nature as a murderer & rapist, in cahoots with the bandit king.

Chau Chiu (Ma Ying) the villainous bandit king cuts off his own arm to survive the darts, & strives later for revenge.

Liou Wen Lung & his young son Yu Long (who grows up to be played by Yueh Hua), with Ah Fu their chubby aide, desire revenge against the one-armed bandit, for the sake of Yu Long's mother/Wen Lung's wife. But for a long time Chau Chiu is not to be found, & it provides some years for the boy to be raised up as an avenger.

Killer DartsAnother young mother, likewise victimized, on her last breath told her daughter Jin Yu Sien (when grown, played by Chin Ping) to get revenge when grown, against a man who uses poison darts. Liou Wen Lung takes the girl in as a pupil & foster-daughter, so she grows up gaining great skill, trained alongside the boy Yu Long.

For a long time she does not know her own sifu is a master of the killer darts, & will one day leap to an unfortunate conclusion when she finds out.

A second fighting woman, Heung Kam Lin (Shen Yi), is expert with bow & arrow. She has a crush on Yu Long. But it is Jin Yu Sien & Yu Long who love one another, inducing Heung Kam Lin in her attempts to break their bond.

They of course believe nothing can ever come between them. After ten years training together, they cannot imagine ever being apart.

Killer DartsEach, however, has grown up with the intent of avenging their respective parents, & they just might find themselves having to make hard choices that put them in conflict.

Chi Feng tricks Jin Yu Sien into believing her fosterfather/sifu is the very dart-master who killed her parents. Her gullibility is annoying, as is her periodic whinging & pouting.

She really ought to be a better judge of character having seen her sifu do so much for her. So it's hard to keep liking her when she sets her vengeful intent against the wrong man.

Before the climactic battles begin, the one-armed bandit returns from a world journey during which he gathered to himself leading rogue fighters.

Killer DartsThis colorful array of bad appoles seem likely to contribute to the last-reel fight sequences. But the director must've run out of time on the tight schedules for these sorts of assembly-line films, as the extra fighters after being introduced contribute very little.

Ah Fu the servant will give his life so that our heroine will know who her true enemy is, & so begins the final vengence. Weak though her sensibility & reasonableness has been, she redeems herself as a fighter, & gets in much the best blows against her foes.

There's more pasteural & about character in Killer Darts than in most such "martial world" films, which is not to say there's a dirth of action. There's plenty, especially in that last reel.

But with overly standard acting the characterizations don't drum up a lot of sympathy for anyone, & the fight choreography is just as workmanlike. Nevertheless, Chin Ping is attractive as a heroine when in full action, & it's only too bad she couldn't be more stoic rather than pettish & pouty.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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