King Hu's 6th feature. It portrays the fight between the group of sword fighters hired by the government and Chinese and Japanese pirates in the 13th century China. One of the films made when King Hu's in the prime of time, and there is not much to criticize. It is a very mature and light, in a good meaning, film. You can see familiar faces in other King Hu's films like Roy Chiao and Hsu Feng, and some talented young action actors (at that time) like Sammo Hung and Biao Yuen. Action scenes mainly placed in the real forest are dynamic and speedy and elaborate. Editing which is very concise and quick establishes an original tempo that makes you feel as if you are watching a good play or cartoon. Use of Beijing Opera music is terrific as usual. What makes this film original among all the works by King Hu is definitely the shocking ending - it is surprising at first, but I think it's good because it describes the sense of mortality.