A more action-focused King Hu film. It's nice to see him do a straight-up martial arts flick for a change, though it does highlight why directors like Cheh Chang took over the genre. Still, the attractive setting (not filmed in a studio) and some pretty solid action scenes makes sure that boredom never set in.
The Ming dynasty is dealing with a Chinese-Japanese pirate problem on its south coast. They are hard to battle, and regular military attacks are expensive and inefficient, so they send Yu Dayou, a tactical mastermind, to solve their problem. He quickly discovers that one of the Chinese officials is accepting bribes from the pirates.
It's always nice to see a film like this shot on location, Hu is also very capable capturing these lovely settings. Performances aren't too great, luckily there isn't too much drama or narrative. The fight choreography isn't the best either, though the editing is nice and punchy and the short runtime keeps things nice and tight. A solid Hu.