Monday, March 25, 2019


The Video Store: Last Hurrah for Chivalry.

December 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Ent., Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Every Thursday on Plex or Movie Plex—in the States—you had Action Day. This was when the channel showed nothing but action films, kung fu flicks, and action-oriented anime. It was sweet! One of the films I liked at the time was John Woo’s Last Hurrah For Chivalry from 1979. It holds the distinction to being the beginning of Woo’s “heroic bloodshed” films which he would make throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. But was Last Hurrah For Chivalry good?

Last Hurrah For Chivalry

This movie was mainly about two mercenaries who were hired by a merchant to kill a kung fu master. Storyline-wise, the movie spirals in multiple directions due to several characters being introduced and stories becoming questionable. Seriously, these two could’ve just breezed into town, killed the master, collected their ducats, and left. Nothing complicated about that.

However, they became involved in the conflicts and dramas of several characters which ended up complicating their original mission. What fun! I will say that without all the extra story, the film would be pretty short and just feature sword fights and that wouldn’t have flew. Personally, I would’ve liked if the story moved along faster so that I could see more of the fight choreography. That’s the one of the reasons I show up for kung fu films: the fight scenes. For the record, the others are the names–Last Hurrah For Chivalry delivers there—and the quotes.

Anyway, not to give the ending of the film away but it goes along the lines of Woo’s other films such Hard Boiled and A Better Tomorrow. With that said, let’s get into where the film shines.

Fight Scenes

The fight scenes in kung fu films are only as good as the choreography. Last Hurrah For Chivalry didn’t skip on the one-on-many fights here but the real magic is in Tsing Yi, the main character fighting Pray/Let It Die (yes, those are his alternate names) one-on-one. That fight had sword action as well as fist fights. Which is something I noticed in wuxia-based kung fu movies. Once that weapon disappear these fighters have the hand-to-hand skills to fall back on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film where one fighter is only good at one or the other and when in a pinch they’re just grass.

I prefer the hand-to-hand and spear fights in kung fu films. Spear action is just dazzling and there are spear fights here! Sword fights can go either way but Last Hurrah gets them right. I even enjoyed that flying sword stab movie that you often see in these movies and I normally eye roll at those. The action is just tight in this film. Of course, as I said before sometimes it can take some time to get to those parts because the drama parts sometimes drag on when you’re like “I showed up for Pray, I want a Pray fight scene!”

Quotes

One of the things that can make a movie memorable is the quotes. A rousing speech that motivates the main character’s allies to fight on. Maybe the monologue of a villain. This film has so many great quotes in it such as Kao Pang, the main villain’s “I also have one rule: If I want you dead, you will die” and Pray saying “They call me Pray, because I pray for those who touch my sword.” The dialogue—even dubbed—can be really, really good. Of course, these quotes always come before a great fight.

Verdict

Last Hurrah For Chivalry isn’t the perfect kung fu movie but its pretty damn close. While the story can become tangled there is a main path there. It shines with fight scenes but has only a few memorable characters. Also, the main character is stock. That said, its worth a watch if you’re a kung fu buff.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (Highly Recommended)

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.



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