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Film / Brothers Five

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The swordswoman, the valet, the blacksmith, the scholar, the bodyguard and the thief, ready to face Master Lung.

Brothers Five is a 1970 Martial Arts Movie produced by Shaw Brothers.

The ruthless Lord of Teng Long Manor, Master Lung, dominates ancient China with an iron fist. The Kao family, who oppresses Master Lung, ends up being massacred, with the five Kao brothers narrowly surviving the incident, but ends up being separated while they're still babies. Decades later, Yen-lai, (Cheng Pei-Pei) a swordswoman and warrior, must seek the five brothers, now adults and working different careers - Kao Wei the Valet (Yueh Hua), Kao Hao the Blacksmith (Chin Han), Kao Chih the scholar (Chang Yi), Kao Yung the bodyguard (Kao Yuen), and Kao Hsia the thief (Lo Lieh), where she will unite all five of them to avenge their slain family and put an end to Master Lung's dominance.

Containing some of the biggest names in kung fu cinema, at the peak of their popularity, this film boasts an Ensemble Cast, where playing different characters, the entire movie showcases each respective actors taking turns to kick all kinds of ass against hordes and hordes of faceless extras. Imagine a Wuxia version of The Expendables, if you may. This film is pretty much just that.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Yen-lai, being portrayed by Cheng Pei-pei.
  • Actor Allusion: Cheng Pei-pei's Yen-lai wears a veil, white dress, and hat, similar to her outfit in The Lady Hermit.
  • All Your Powers Combined: What the five brothers are required to do in order to finally defeat Master Lung. By forming themselves into a human pyramid, Kao Hao holding all four of his siblings above him, Kao Wei and Kao Yung on the sides to deflect Master Lung's attacks, while Kao Chih and Kao Wei can retaliate and find an opening for the brothers to overcome Master Lung, and finally kill him for good.
  • Arrow Catch: Kao Yung does this at one point as a band of marauders tries to ambush him with arrows. He catches the first arrow fired at him and flings it back into the archer's neck.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: The five brothers throughout the movie, but especially in the climax where they - and Yen-lai - takes on an entire army, with the six of them forming back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to- back-to-back badasses.
  • Badass Family: The Five brothers.
  • Badass in Distress: Kao Yung gets cornered by Master Lung's minions at one point, getting stuck on top of an archway while injured, where hordes and hordes of mooks stay at the bottom waiting to kill him as soon as he tires out and drops down.
  • The Blacksmith: Kao Hao, who works as a blacksmith. He's the Mighty Glacier of the brothers, using his strength in combat.
  • Bullying a Dragon: A few of Lung's minions thought it would be a good idea to intimidate Kao Hao the blacksmith, just because he's a simpleton. For that they earn a hammer into their skulls.
  • Crouching Scholar Hidden Badass: Kao Chih the scholar, who is soft spoken and frequently speaks in poetry, but is still a deadly fighter.
  • Elite Mook: While most of Master Lung's thugs are faceless randos in black and red uniforms, there are a few in unique clothing which puts up a slightly better fight against the brothers, and could be seen leading mooks into battle.
  • Ensemble Cast: Six prominent Shaw Brothers megastars portraying the titular five brothers and their benefactor.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Each and every one of the five brothers have a single, long scar running across the back of their right hands, which they received from Master Yung while as babies and carries with them until adulthood. Some DVD covers displays these scars on the cover.
  • Fake Defector: Kao Hsia, trying to save Kao Yung (see Badass in Distress above), pretends to join Master Lung's minions. Master Lung then orders Kao Hsia to prove his allegiance by killing Kao Yung, where the thief uses this opportunity and climbs up, before grabbing Kao Yung and dropping on his horse and making a quick run for it.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The five brothers may not be raised together, or grow up together, but once they realize they're all part of a bigger family and are destined to take down the Big Bad together, they're completely inseparable.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Played straight, with Yen-lai the swordswoman who's destined to unite the brothers, as well as two of the brothers (Valet Kao Wei and Bodyguard Kao Yung, the former who is the eldest) using Chinese jians as preferred weapons.
  • Rotating Protagonist: The movie first focuses on Yen-Lai and her investigations on Master Lung's atrocities, before seeking the brothers one at a time where she recruits them and fill them up on their backstories.
  • Separated at Birth: The five titular brothers are the only survivors of their family's massacre, where they ends up adopted by different families before fate brings them all together.
  • Storming the Castle: The final battle, where the five brothers, with Yen-lai in tow, attacks Master Lung's mansion and fights their way through over a hundred mooks before facing Master Lung in a final confrontation.
  • Wire Fu: As per the norm of Wuxia films.
  • Weapon Specialization: Each brother and their benefactor, Yen Lai. As well as the Big Bad, Master Lung.
  • You Killed My Father: Master Lung killed the five brothers' parents during their family's massacre, making thier vengeance with him personal.