Today: June 12, 2024

The Valiant Ones

The Valiant Ones was King Hu’s last, great masterpiece. Indeed it’s arguably his last true wuxia film — but what a magnificent beast it is.

Directed by the celebrated master of the genre, The Valiant Ones was shot back-to-back with The Fate of Lee Khan, although it wasn’t released until two years later. While it’s sometimes considered to stand in the shadow of earlier works, like Come Drink with Me, Dragon Inn, and A Touch of Zen, The Valiant Ones is a worthy and memorable swan-song for a genre that boasted so many genuine classics. With its daringly innovative fight-sequences, memorable characters, and moments of high-octane drama, this is wuxia entertainment at its absolute best.

During the reign of the Jiajing Emperor (Zhao Lei), China’s coastal regions have come under attack by wokou – Japanese pirates under the leadership of the infamous Hakatatsu (Sammo Hung). To combat this threat, the Emperor tasks a trusted general, Zhu Wan (Tu Kuang-chi), with assembling a group of skilled warriors to find and eliminate the pirates. Under the command of General Yu Dayou (Roy Chiao), the band of soldiers – including husband-and-wife sword-fighters Wu Ji-yuan (Pai Ying) and Wu Ruo-shi (Hsu Feng) – set out to draw Hakatatsu, his ally Xu Dong (Han Ying-chieh) and their pirate clan into a series of spectacular showdowns.

Inspired by historical events, and featuring several storied figures drawn from Chinese history, The Valiant Ones is a standout piece of action-packed cinema.

Eureka’s new 4k restoration is available on both blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD blu-ray as part of their superlative Masters of Cinema range which, as ever, is supported by a wealth of fascinating extras.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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