Ci Lang Zhou
1976 / 91m - Hong Kong
Farewell to a Warrior poster


December 29, 2021


Yuen Chor + Shaw Bros usually equals martial arts cinema with a strong fantasy injection. Those who've dug a little deeper into his oeuvre already know that Chor is more than just martial arts though. Still, I hadn't really expected to see a full-blown Chinese Teochew opera. Not really a very pleasant surprise I'm afraid.

Chinese opera is an acquired taste, one I haven't been able to get accustomed to. There's an early John Woo film I sat through some time ago that left quite some scars, this Chor film just adds to the trauma. Though it tells the story of the 13th century Sung Dynasty battle against the Mongols, action fans have nothing to look forward to.

It's really just a lot of singing on a decently decorated stage. That's where Chor's hand is mostly clearly visible, but it's hard to enjoy when the music and voices are that pervasive. The thing just drags for 90 minutes, the silence afterwards was a pure blessing. If you're a fan of Chinese opera, do give this film a shot, as Chor's decoration is sure to enhance the experience. If not, it's best to stay clear of this one.