Night Orchid (1982)

Directed by
Befuddling wuxia with flashes of inspiration
Reviewed by Simon on 2024-07-03

Hero Chu Liu-Hsiang has been absent from the martial world for many years, presumed dead, but when a mysterious killer begins targeting his friends he reappears on the scene. The killer always leaves an orchid on the body, earning them the name Night Orchid.

The character Chu Liu-Hsiang was played by Ti Lung in Clans Of Intrigue and its sequels, and is played here by the slightly less charismatic Adam Cheng. The story is a similar sort of murder mystery with dominance of the jiang hu as its motivation - though it's so hard to follow for much of the runtime you wouldn't know it if not for the fact that's pretty much always what the story is in these films.

The script was written by Ku Long, and if you thought Chor Yuen's adaptations of his work were hard to follow. be prepared for new frontiers of confusion.

The film gets pretty wild, starting from an early scene where a black-clad assassin bursts out of the belly of a pregnant woman suspiciously stumbling around in a forest and culminating in a duel of wuxia powers and acrobatics that calls to mind the kind of fanciful action seen in Zu: Warriors Of The Magic Mountain, though executed with a fraction of the care and technical proficiency (and presumably budget or time) here.

For its imaginative ideas and narrative befuddlement NIGHT ORCHID is at least interesting... but not very good.