The Rangers

Director: Ho Chang

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The letterbox presentation is appreciated. The laughable dubbing is not. Lady Whirlwind Against the Rangers; aka, Lady Whirlwind & the Rangers; or, The Rangers; or, Vigilantes (Da xiao you long, 1974) has a few well done fight scenes & a plethora or ridiculous fight scenes, plus a sizeable dose of humor, sufficient that it almost comes off as comedy kung fu.

The RangersIt's essentially a revenge piece, the oldest plot handled in a workmanlike manner. The only thing the film really has going for it is a woman avenger who disguises herself as a boy in such a way that she might actually have passed for male.

The cross-dressing heroine is also one of the oldest wuxia elements but usually the "disguise" is just silly because the films also want the films to have sexy girls. Thus characters don't recognize some woman in a scholar's hat as female even though it's no disguise at all.

Polly Kuan (or Shang-kwan Ling-feng) as Lin Jo Nan actually gets a boy's hair-do & figure-disguising costume & talks tough, so to some slight degree the film tries harder than most to be realistic. Polly Kuan was also one of the handful of empty-hand punch & block film fighters who could project a real sense that a woman could take on big tough guys & win.

And to add a greater level of perversity to the cross-dressing theme, Lin Jo Nan's baby brother Lin Shao Lung (Yen Shao Im) likewise dons a guise, that of a little girl in pigtails, skipping & trala-ing in an amusing manner as though it's ever so much fun.

The RangersBoth sister cum big brother, & brother cum baby sister, do kung fu antics across the countryside, seeking vengeance for their murdered father.

The villain is a real karate champ, Yasuaki Kurata, who plays his role of murderous smuggler Chang Piao totally straight, as though he he couldn't tell the majority of the cast is camping it up. He provides opportunities for "karate vs taekwando" punch & kick fighting, which I suppose will delight some few who can spot the difference.

Some of the humor of the situations works quite well, but overall it seems to be a badly done film. I say "seems to be" because had it been available subtitled instead of ruinously dubbed it might not have seemed nearly so bad.

As an aside, this was filmed to cash in on the success of Angela Mao's similarly titled Lady Whirlwind (Jin xuan feng, 1972) when it reached America. There has ever since been considerable confusion in cast lists that have insisted Lady Whirlwind & the Rangers also stars Angela Mao, but it does not.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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