Sheng Si Dou
1978 / 96m - Hong Kong
Life Gamble poster


February 09, 2016


A pretty recognizable Shaw Bros production, though studio fans will no doubt notice the little details that make this film stand out in Chang's oeuvre. It's probably not enough to convince non-believers of the studio's appeal, others are sure to welcome the minor upsets and shifts in focus, as they make the film slightly less predictable.

A jade jewel is the big prize of a gambling competition. The jewel attracts many interested parties, each sporting their own underhanded tricks to get to the jewel. To stand a chance, Feng approaches an old blacksmith to forge him seven daggers, the problem is that the blacksmith doesn't feel like coming out of retirement.

The film is slightly less focused on classic martial arts scenes, the fights are a bit sneaker and more subverted here. It's also interesting to see a more prominent female cast featured, not just in minor secondary roles either. It's these little things that create a somewhat different vibe, though very much within the confines of Chang's typical output. Good fun.