Clans of Intrigue (1977)Director: Chu Yuan
Starring: Ti Lung, Nora Miao, Betty Pei, Yueh Hua, Ling Yun, Li Chung
A mysterious figure has killed the three leaders of the boxing world and framed up swordsman Chu Liu-Hsiang (Ti Lung) so not only does he have the three clans to deal with, he also has to deal with the Magic Water Palace who think he stole their "Magic Water" to do the killings and have given him thirty days to find the real killer.
His friend Wu Hua (Yueh Hua) turns up from time to time to see how he is going and he also meets the assassin for hire Yi (Ling Yun) learns never to call him a bastard. After some investigating, he also runs into the daughter of one of the clan leaders, Black Pearl (Li Chung), who really just gets in the way a lot of the time.
Just when he thinks he has it all figured out, everything changes and he is back to square one. This happens several times until he forces the issue, leading to the inevitable showdown with the real killer.
There are a lot of twists and turns in this movie, but it never gets boring as there are lots of interesting fight scenes, great characters and locations. Lui-Hsang is a great all round fighter and very clever in his detective work. Yi might be a cold-blooded assassin, but he always turns up at the right time and you can trust him to do what he says. Black Pearl is a bit silly really, but she is handy to have around when the going gets tough. I liked the scene in the cemetery also where she gets a fright, which really doesn't seem to have much point except for laughs.
I really liked the sets, especially the Magic Water Palace later in the film as it looks really exotic with lots of caves, green water, smoke and statues. The other locations are also great, especially Liu-Hsiang's houseboat.
I have been deliberately vague with the plot as I don't want to spoil it for you, but if you are clever you should be able to work it out. If not, just enjoy the action along the way and wonder why they don't make them like this anymore.