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Uncle Sun Yu's (Ku Feng) Lung Man Society seems to be constantly under
attack, both from the Roc society and Sister Ko's (Chen Ping) stable of
killers. But when both Uncle's son Sun Chien (Wang Chung) and his
mysterious guard Han Tang (Lo Lieh) are killed, this gets too close for
comfort, and he begins to trust only ahandful of his closest followers,
most prominent of all Lu Hsiang-Chuan (Yueh Hua), his right hand man.
Meanwhile, Meng Sheng-Wen (Tsung Hua), sister Ko's top killer, meets
lovely Hsiao Tieh (Ching Li), the daughter of Uncle Sun Yu, and the two
almost immediately fall in love. Still, Meng shows little hesitation when
he is given the order to kill her father, Uncle Sun Yu. Sister Ko though
wants to make extra-sure, and so she orders Yeh Hsiang (Ling Yun), a
former top killer turned drunkard who was once also in love with Hsiao
Tieh, to kill Uncle as well.
However, Uncle has smelled the beef from far away and has evaded Meng
Sheng-Wen's dilligent plan to kill him with ease while Yeh Hsiang's blunt
attack poses no threat for him, and in the end, the drunkard kills
himself. With two assaults on his life made in one day though, Uncle Sun
Yu realizes he cannot trust anyone anymore ... anyone but his would-be
killer Meng Sheng-wen, who underneath his being an assassin is a
To ensure his succession, Uncle shows Lu Hsiang-Chuan, his second in
command, the secrets of the Lung Man Society, only to be attacked by Lu
immediately afterwards and being hit by a poisoned dart. Fortunately
though, Uncle has contemplated such treachery and built himself a system
of secret hallways to ensure his escape, and a hiding place inside a well
to throw Lu completely off the track.
Lu meanwhile knows that he has successfully poisoned Uncle, but he
won't believe Uncle is dead until he sees his body, which is of course
nowhere to be found. In the meantime he tries to, with the help of the Roc
society, take over the Lung Man society ...
Then return Uncle - who has fought the poison by meditation - and Meng
Sheng-Wen - who has since joined forces with Uncle - with a small army of
loyals, and they beat the Roc Society for good and in the end, traitor Lu
gets his just desserts ...
Killer Clans was director Chu Yuan's first adaptation of a novel
by martial arts author Ku Lung, and the first in a string of successful Ku
Lung adaptations by Chu Yuan, most of which turned out to be genre
classics (see Magic Blade, Clans
of Intrigue, Swordsman
and Enchantress, to name a few). In this first film, all the
elements that would become staple of the series are already firmly in
place: a convoluted mystery plot, fancy weapons and fancy villains, a few
fantastic elements, a reliance unexpected plot twists and old-fashioned
secret passageways, lavish sets, great martial arts, and characters that
transcend a simple good-and-evil dichotomy. However, Killer Clans
is not Chu Yuan's best Ku Lung adaptation, the plot is just too
convoluted, features a few too many plottwists and the whole film is
simply too over-populated to keep track of who is who.
Still, that doesn't make it a bad film, it's still a fascinating piece
of martial arts cinema with set-pieces that will keep your mouth agape.
Only thing - in later years Chu Yuan would prove that he could do even
In 1993, Killer Clans was remade as Butterfly
and Sword, a quite elegant martial arts flick. However, storywise,
the two films have only very little in common.