Moonlight Sword and Jade Lion (1977) with Angela Mao and Wang Tao (Don Wong)
Plot: MOONLIGHT SWORD AND JADE LION is a frequently confusing kung fu tale about a swordswoman (Angela Mao) seeking the brother of her late teacher in order to learn who killed her parents when she was a baby. That's basically all the film is about, but it takes 90 minutes to get there and only after the film bogs down with a lot of pointless intrigue involving a host of other characters skulking about trying to kill each other. It's never entirely clear who these characters are or what their connection to the action is, but the film gives us lots of scenes with them. One character, played by Wong Tao, is set up as the male lead and potential partner of Angela, yet he vanishes for the whole middle section of the film as if the screenwriters had simply forgotten about him.
The good news is that Angela is very attractively garbed in a pink-and-white outfit and appears in a lot of fight scenes. The fights are generally short and overly gimmicky (with flying plates and chopsticks and such), but Angela gets to do a lot of swordplay and acrobatics and makes the whole thing worth watching. Wong Tao (THE HOT, THE COOL AND THE VICIOUS) is the only other notable fighting star on display, but he doesn't get to fight enough. Lung Chun Erh, another fighting femme and always an appealing presence (see SHAOLIN INVINCIBLES and THE MAGNIFICENT), appears all too briefly as one of Angela's enemies and fights her in one scene over the jade lion of the title (whose significance is never adequately explained).
The exemplary sets and costumes are all displayed to great advantage in the high-quality letter-boxed print available for review. The English-language soundtrack, however, suffers from some of the worst dubbing yet heard in a kung fu film. The voice used for Angela is particularly annoying. The English track omits so much key info that one wonders if much of the original dialogue hadn't simply been ignored by the translators.