The Red Phoenix (1978)

Directed by
Nothing special, but some decent action
Reviewed by Simon on 2023-11-01

THE RED PHOENIX has a lot in common with the same year's Lung Wei Village, aka 99 Cycling Swords - not least a writer/director and a number of cast members. The plot follows a similar path, but thankfully isn't quite as dumb or weird.

Lo Lieh and Yueh Hua are quite prominently placed in the credits but the film kills both off early on. David Chiang and Polly Shang-Kuan both make it to the final scene though, and Blacky Ko gets a fairly substantial role - not something you get to say often.

The action is more grounded and better choreographed than in LUNG WEI VILLAGE, the downside of that is that it doesn't have the WTF? moments, but it is more consistently engaging and invigorating, and the main reason to watch the film.

David Chiang and Polly Shang-Kuan are interesting in that they both found fame as martial arts stars despite not really having any martial arts training, but then put the work in and by this point in their careers had genuine skills - Polly especially impresses here.

THE RED PHOENIX isn't any kind of masterpiece, and is really only recommended for devoted fans of kung fu cinema with a liking or tolerance for the randomness Taiwanese films quite often displayed, but if that's what you see in the mirror then by all means give it a try.