Friday, January 29, 2010

Review: The Delightful Forest (1972)

Most of my Shaw Brothers viewing has been of films involving the Venoms, Alexander Fu Sheng, or Gordon Liu. Last night I decided to watch "Delightful Forest", a Chang Cheh film starring Ti Lung, one of biggest Shaw Brothers superstars to grace the films of the 70's. If I knew what I was missing, I would have sought out this movie a long, long time ago. I found it to be an excellent film!

"Delightful Forest" tells part of the story of Wu Song (Ti Lung) from the classic Chinese novel "Outlaws of the Marsh." Wu Song is a heroic, no-nonsense guy with strong moralistic ideals and a penchant for getting hammered on strong wine! He once slayed a tiger with his bare hands, which he makes sure to let everyone know whenever he gets the chance. The story starts with an intense fight between Wu Song and Ximen Qing, with Wu Song avenging his brother's death by killing Ximen Qing. Ximen Qing was an adulterer who poisoned and killed Wu Song's brother. Once getting his vengeance, Wu Song turns himself in to the authorities and is escorted to prison, befriending a couple at an inn on the way. Once at the prison, he meets Shi En (the son of the prison head). Wu Song earns a very short and pampered prison stay by agreeing to help Shi En take down Chiang Chung, who is feared by the people and has taken control of all the businesses in the town of Delightful Forest. Wu Song heads out to confront Chiang Chung, drinking three bowls of wine at every inn on the way, and proceeds to drunkenly demolish him. After the battle, Chiang Chung's allies scheme together to frame Wu Song and have him put away for good. While practically at death's door, Wu Song is saved once again, and sets out to put an end to Chiang Chung and everyone else that framed him. This leads to a super intense bloody battle ending with Wu Song covered pretty much head to toe in blood, victoriously standing amongst the bodies of Chiang Chung and his many cronies. Wu Song marks the spot by writing "Wu Song killed all these men" on the wall in his own blood, then leaves Delightful Forest. He then goes on the run disguised as a priest with the help of the couple he befriended while being escorted to the prison.

This was an awesome movie! Ti Lung's portrayal of Wu Song was classic. His fighting, acting, and presence was incredible and I really got absorbed in the character. The movie also started with a bang with the great opening fight against Ximen Qing and ended in a flood of blood after the epic ending battle. This movie has certainly made me take notice of Ti Lung, and I'm going to make sure to watch a lot of his other work, especially "The Water Margin" and "All Men Are Brothers," both movie adaptations of parts of the "Outlaws of the Marsh." novel. Anyway, do yourself a favor and check out this classic Fu flick! You won't regret it!

4½ out of 5 Venoms


"Buddha's name be praised..."


venoms5 said...

Great review KFM! If you like your kung fu movies on the gory side, than ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS, the sequel to WATER MARGIN is for you. It's possibly Cheh's bloodiest movie.

R.A.M.'67 said...

Enthusiastic review! I knew there had to be more to Wu Sung (via Ti Lung's portrayal) than those precious few minutes he had in "The Water Margain", and I was very pleased to find my thoughts justified when I got the BD of "The Delightful Forest"! 1982's "Tiger Killer" (available as a "Region 3" IVL DVD only) is Ti Lung's last work as Wu Sung in this "PRE-QUEL" to "TDF" and should be sought out, too, as well as Well Go's up-coming DVD & BD reissue of "All Men are Brothers"! Great blog!

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