The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1983)

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Lau Kar-leung directs Gordon Liu, Kara Hui and Alexander Fu in this Shaw Brothers weapons based martial arts soap. 

Gold leaf lavish yet still formulaic and cheesy – this feels like both a last hurrah of the old school kung fu epics and a lost in time arthouse revival picture like the self consciously beautiful House of Flying Daggers. Watching Gordon Lui accidentally find himself in his first starring role is good value. The opening sequence feels more like a Broadway musical full cast curtain closer than a battle to the death. Later, a series of attackers are hit in the gob by a pole which rips their teeth out on to the wood of the weapon, red paint bloodily. I couldn’t explain the plot to you a week later now, even if you offered me a million quid for a three sentence synopsis.

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