Secret Service Of The Imperial Court (1984)

Directed by
Goes hard
Reviewed by Simon on 2023-01-15

This late-period Shaw Brothers film is a riff on Lone Wolf & Cub, with Leung Kar-Yan as an imperial executioner who starts to doubt whether some of his targets really deserve to die.

The film goes hard thanks to intense performances from Leung Kar-Yan and Ku Feng, and is way better than I remembered. By this point Shaw Brothers were starting to wind down and it often showed in the films production values, but this is for the most part a fine looking film.

There is not a stroke of comedy, the film is dark and brutal with an enormous body count. The action is plentiful and bloody but quite grounded compared to Tony Liu's wired up extravaganzas of the era - at least up until the finale, which finishes the film on a suitably creative and fantastic note.

Recently released in France by Spectrum Asie, who have been proudly flying the Tony Liu flag by themselves for a while now. I've been syncing the English subtitles from the IVL DVDs to their blurays (look on OpenSubtitles for them) but it would be great if somebody like 88 Films would give them a release with a new translation for the Anglosphere.