The Bells of Death is a 1968 Shaw Brothers wuxia classic film directed by Yueh Feng and starring Chang Yi and Chin Ping. The Bells of Death was recently released on Blu-ray as part of the Shout Factory Shaw Brothers Classics Collection Volume 1.
“The Bells of Death” opens with a tragic event that ignites a relentless quest for justice. As three merciless villains leave a family butchered, the sole survivor, played by Chang Yi, embarks on a journey for revenge.
Fast forward five years, and our protagonist has transformed into a martial arts master, even able to wield supernatural skills. The narrative unfolds as he seeks retribution against the three distinct villains, each bearing unique features that make them all the more unforgettable: a menacing unibrow and bald head villain portrayed by Ku Feng, one with a chubby nose, and a bow-wielding foe who is missing an ear.
“The Bells of Death” doesn’t shy away from intense battles, showcasing limbs flying, heads rolling, and a relentless pursuit of vengeance. Cinematographically mesmerizing, this film boasts visually striking shots that keep you hooked. The evocative score adds another layer of excitement, reminiscent of spaghetti westerns, with acoustic guitar melodies and the haunting echoes of a bugle horn.
Ultimately, the lead performances do not carry the same star power as the main villains of the film but the action keeps things mostly engaging.