I’m probably going to lose any and all movie geek cred that I might possess when I admit the following: I’m not really a fan of the kung fu/martial arts genre. I realize its place in film history and I even vaguely understand the importance of the Shaw Brothers in the development of Chinese/Hong Kong cinema. But the fact remains that I’ve just never been taken with the general genre. It also is worth saying that I’m certainly not trying to write off all Asian films. Kurosawa is a master of the motion picture, no matter what your feelings are on foreign film.
So with all that out of the way, the basic premise of The 14 Amazons is certainly a compelling one. You’ve got two warring Chinese factions, with an evil king’s army putting the screws to another, out-matched army in the opening minutes of the film. The last warriors standing are wiped out and the scene changes to a temple of women who are toasting each other and their husbands. As fate would have it (yes, you guessed it), their husbands are the ones who were just slaughtered. Long story short, these wives are just as adept at combat as their husbands and they decide to take up arms to fight and avenge their loved ones.
Not too shabby eh? Unfortunately, the overall film (in my humble opinion) is brought down by lackluster effects and some goofy fight choreography. Yes I know this was done in 1972, yes I know that should probably cut this a bit of slack. But regardless, those elements took me out of the story and made me want to start my own commentary MST3K-style.
That said, I was struck by the brutality of some of scenes in this film. It might not always look believable, but the concepts are undoubtedly intense. Oh and this also features a pretty sweet sequence involving a human bridge. Yep, it is what is sounds like. In terms of special features, there are none. Zip, zilch, nada.
So if you are a kung fu fan, definitely check this out. It’ll likely be worth your time…but if you’re in the same boat that I’m in, well, maybe better luck next time.