ARROW VIDEO SHAW SCOPE VOLUME 2 BOX SET: Magnificent Ruffians (1979)

What good is being the master of a martial arts technique if you have no one left to fight? That’s the question that Yuan Ying Fei (Lu Feng), a master of the Golden Sword technique, must be asking himself. All anyone wants to do is carry a gun now and he can barely convince other martial artists to come to town for his hospitality any longer. That said, he murders them pretty quickly when they do visit, but the guy obivously has issues. He also wants the property of Guan Ah Yu (Lo Meng), who lives at home with his mother, but when he sends henchmen over to knock the guy around, the man many see as a mother’s boy destroys all of them.

Meanwhile, Feng Jia Ji (Sun Chien), He Fei (Chiang Sheng), Yang Zhui Feng (Phillip Chung-Fung) and Zeng Qiao (Wang Li) are other fighters who have fallenon such hard times that in order to eat, they allow the cooks and waiters at restaurants to beat them up.

Yuan Ying Fei gets the idea to hire all four of them to work at his estate and convince them that his rival is a villain. That way, he can marry Guan Ah Yu’s sister without her knowing that he’s the man who killed him. When these five first meet, they all come to realize that they’re kindred spirits — magnificent ruffians — who only care about practicing kung fu.

That’s when the villain sets up Yang Zhui Feng by replacing his weapon with one that explodes on contact. In practice, it kills Guan Ah Yu and he goes on the run, convinced that his friends will think he’s a traitor. Yang Zhui Feng then appears and only He Fei escapes with his life. Of course, the two surviving ruffians will come back together, there will be a final battle against the Golden Sword style and only one man will survive.

The Venom Mob and director Chang Cheh made so many films together, including two more that are in the same era as this, as hand to hand combat gives way to bullets. It’s a good film but probably not the best one of their output to watch first.

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