Combustible Celluloid
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With: Damian Lau, Wai Pak, Lau Kong, Lee Hoi-Sang, Fung Hak-On, Chin Yuet-Sang, Ngai Chau-Wa, Cheng Lui
Written by: John Woo
Directed by: John Woo
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Cantonese with English subtitles
Running Time: 107
Date: 11/22/1979

Last Hurrah for Chivalry (1979)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Hip Hip 'Hurrah'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

John Woo directed this sword fighting epic long before he discovered his slo-mo gunplay style; it contains a few moments of dazzling choreography but it's a fairly minor entry in his filmography. Two swordsmen from very different backgrounds agree to help a man avenge the death of his family. Of course, there's a bigger plot afoot and the two men find themselves overcoming their differences to team up against the greater evil. It's a signature Woo theme, but less sharpened here than in later films. Still, the half-dozen great set pieces (including one in a room full of candles) make this one worth a try, at least for fans.

DVD Details: The Weinstein Co. released a beautiful new DVD in 2007 under their "Dragon Dynasty" label. It comes with lots of interviews and a commentary track by Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan, but nothing from Woo himself.

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