Available on DVD !
To buy, click on link(s) below and help keep this site afloat
Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
15 years ago, Teng Piao (Ti Lung) has been thrown into jail after
having been framed by someone only known as the Black Leopard. Now he is
out, and he wants his revenge on Black Leopard, which is why he still
carries his iron chain from prison around. There is only one problem:
Nobody knows who the Black Leopard is, what he looks like, or even if he's
male or female. The only thing known about him is that he has a birthmark
in the form of a black leopard (hence the name) on his chest.
has a clue leading to the Black Leopard though, that's Master Zhou (Jason
Pai Piao), a gangster who controls a village together with businessman Lan
(Ching Miao) - so Teng Piao announces himself to Master Zhou, then takes
up residence at the local inn, waiting for the Black Leopard to show up
and try to kill him. At the inn, Teng Piao meets Shan Lin (Ching Li), a
woman who has lost her husband 15 years ago and only the Black Leopard
knows who killed him. So to find out who's the killer, she has decided to
stick with Teng Piao, the man most likely to track him (her?) down. Teng
Piao also makes the acquaintance of inspector Chi (Ai Fei), who decides to
support him because he wants to get rid of the Black Leopard as well.
the meantime, Master Zhou and Lan decide they don't want the snooping
stranger around, so they summon their gang of superior martial artists
collectively known as the Seven Killers to get rid of Teng Piao. It should
be noted here that Black Leopard is one of the Seven Killers, and that the
identity of all of them is unknown to the general public - and it is said
that nobody survives to see the Seven Killers all at once.
the inn Teng Piao is residing at all sorts of weird characters show up,
the most interesting of all being Du (Tony Liu), an expert knifethrower, a
bit of a scoundrel, and a man who refuses to choose sides between Teng
Piao and the Seven Killers.
After several unsuccessful attempts on Teng
Piao's and Shan Li's lives, Master Zhou finds out Du has actually killed
two gouvernment officials, but he promises him a pardon if he kills Teng
Piao in exchange - and Du agrees. Du manages to seriously injure Teng Piao
in a fight, but when Zhou asks him to hand him over, Du refuses, not
before he gets his pardon, but Master Zhou was of course bluffing ... so
Du takes Teng Piao to the inn with him and turns all the doors and windows
to his room into death traps to ensure nobody can come in.
Du lets in Shan Lin and inspector Chi though, whom he thinks his
accomplices - but then inspector Chi turns out to be one of the Seven
Killers, and he lets the others in - but then it turns out that Teng Piao
wasn't really injured in the fight and Du is actually a gouvernment
official come to track down the Black Leopard - who has now been
identified as Lan.
Du has brought reinforcements, and a big fight
erupts, at the end of which Lan the Black Leopard is shot by ... Master
Zhou, who blames his life of crime on the Seven Killers and who has
figured only if he got rid of the others he could start a new life as a
honest man. Master Zhou is pardoned for all his crimes, and he travels
North together with Teng Piao and Shan Li. It's only later that Du finds
out the birthmark on Lan's chest that identifies him as Black Leopard is a
fake, which means the real Black Leopard must be ... Master Zhou.
catches up with Zhou just when he is about to poison Teng Piao and Shan
Li, and another fight erupts, at the end of which Teng Piao strangles
Master Zhou with his chain. With his dying breath though, Zhou tells Shan
Li who has killed her husband: Teng Piao. Teng Piao admits it and is shot
by Shan Li on the spot ...
Another great film by Chu Yuan that
crosses genre boundaries (martial arts movie, murder mystery, revenge
flick, ...) many times, ignores the laws of nature when they stand in the
way of a good action scene, and that seems to be set in some historical
limbo (though some costumes suggest the early 20th century, the sets
certainly don't). The whole thing is carried by an interesting story that
might seem a bit overconvoluted and does feature a few plotholes, but a
slick direction, expert pacing, great action sequences, and a handful of
bizarre ideas gloss over all narrative shortcomings neatly. And a great
ensemble cast doesn't hurt one bit either.