TAS: Heroes of the East (1979) – Gordon Liu vs. Riki Harada

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Also known as Shaolin Challenges Ninja, Heroes of the East is probably my favorite Shaw Bros. martial arts film. Different from many at the time, the Japanese here aren’t portrayed as malicious but as sportsmen and honorable; seeing hate on film gets old really quick. In this scene, Gordon Liu faces his first challenge by a group of Japanese martial artists looking to challenge his claims of Chinese superiority in the fighting arts. Facing Riki Harada, a veteran of Lone Wolf and Cub films, he brandishes a jian and employs traditional techniques to counter the katana. Utilizing finesse and unpredictability, Liu is able to defeat the power techniques of Japanese swordsmanship and sets the stage for the battles to come. I could fill this entire section with fights from this movie, but this sequence stands out the most, to me at least, because it is an expert melding of two very different styles of fighting to create excellent choreography courtesy of late, great Lau Kar Leung.

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Long time film lover and occasional writer. I watch anything and everything though I have massive love for the works of Shunji Iwai, Jackie Chan, Johnnie To, and Kinji Fukasaku. POP! POP!

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