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Film / Marco Polo

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Starring Richard Harrison as Marco Polo, the sixth most important character of the entire damn movie.

Marco Polo, also known as Four Assassins, is a 1975 Shaw Brothers martial arts movie directed by Chang Cheh, starring Richard Harrison as the titular character and members of the Five Deadly Venoms crew as the assassins, with its Ensemble Cast including Alexander Fu Sheng, Chi Kuan Chun, Philip Kwok, Gordon Liu, Shih Szu and martial arts choreographer Leung Kar-yan playing key roles.

In the Yuan Dynasty, the Venetian merchant and traveler Marco Polo (Harrison) is appointed as advisor for the court of Kublai Khan, who had recently taken over China and is in the process of wiping out the local La Résistance. A small group of resistance warriors are all that opposes Khan, including a band of four consisting of Li Xiong-Feng, Zhou Xing-Zheng, Huang Zong-Han and Chen Jie. Posing as an ambassador to the resistance, Marco Polo ends up joining the assassins in their fight against the Mongols.


Unrelated to the Netflix series of the same name.

Marco Polo contains examples of:

  • Badass Crew: The four assassins, Li Xiong-Feng, Zhou Xing-Zheng, Huang Zong-Han and Chen Jie, who provide the last line of defense against the Mongols in the final assault on the Shaolin temple.
  • Blood Brothers: The four assassins again, born of different families but raised together in the Shaolin temple.
  • Blood from the Mouth: On all three of the Mongol lieutenants when they died.
  • Braids of Barbarism: On all three of the Mongol Lieutenants.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Most of the assassin's skills which they obtain during their Training Montage ends up helping them one way or another in the final battle, such as Zhou Xing-Zheng being able to move large rocks and Huang Zong-Han learning how to collapse hard surfaces by aiming for their weak points.
  • Five-Man Band: The four assassins and Marco Polo himself.
    • The Hero: Li Xiong-Feng, with most of the assassins' story being told from his viewpoint.
    • The Lancer: Zhou Xing-Zheng, the most skilled of the group when it comes to taking names, and had the second most development throughout the story.
    • The Big Guy: Huang Zong-Han, the strongest of the crew, who trains in breaking rocks and boulders with his bare hands.
    • The Smart Guy: Chen Jie, the strategist during the final defense of the temple against the Mongol assault.
    • The Audience Surrogate: Marco Polo, being a foreigner witnessing the Shaolin warriors' plight in their battle against the Mongols.
  • Floating Head Syndrome: Done for the International release poster featuring Richard Harrison's giant head looming over the horizon. (see above)
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Marco Polo and the Mongol Lieutenants all have thick, impressive moustaches.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: In the climax when Li faces off against Abulahua of the Mongol army, both of them are resorted to punching the crap out of each other.
  • Hold the Line: In the climax, while his brothers takes on various Mongol factions by going for the lieutenants, it is up to Huang Zong-Han staying in the temple's courtyard to battle an entire incoming horde of Mongol soldiers and prevent them from entering the temple's inner sanctums. He did an impressive job with it, too.
  • Improvised Weapon: Huang Zong-Han and Zhou Xing-Zheng in the finale. The former grabs two broken doors and uses them to whack the snot out of Mongol invaders, while the latter picks up giant boulders as a makeshift bludgeon.
  • In a Single Bound: All four protagonists have skills that allows them to traverse great heights simply by jumping, but even more evident on Li Xiong-Feng, the protagonist, whose training includes scenes of him learning to jump from bottom of pools.
  • Mook Lieutenant: The Mongol army's generals, Abulahua, Caldalu and Dulidan, whom were seen leading their troops against the assassins.
  • One-Man Army: Zhou Xing-Zheng and Huang Zong-Han both gets to fight solo in the final battle, holding off legions and legions of Mongol soldiers while fighting alone. They Do Not Go Gentle either, as they succumbed to sustaining multiple injuries, and took more than 60 names each before they expire.
  • Secondary Character Title: Nope, Marco Polo isn't the protagonist (he's a Supporting Protagonist and Audience Surrogate at best), the four assassins are.
  • Fish out of Water: When Marco Polo gets to know the four assassins after taking refuge in the Shaolin temple, more often than not due to him being a Westerner he ends up being confused with the concept of honour, loyalty, pacifism and all those values held by the Shaolin students.
  • Taking You with Me: Huang Zong-Han, in the courtyard facing off nearly a hundred Mongol invaders trying to force their way in, ends up being cornered under a balcony after being overwhelmed by his enemies. Rather than giving the Mongols the pleasure of intruding the temple's main hall, Huang instead tackles a pillar, causing the entire balcony to collapse, crushing himself and at least 50 remaining enemies to death.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: All four of the assassins fight shirtless in the finale, as do some of the Mongolians' Mook Lieutenant warriors.
  • Zerg Rush: The lesser Mongol soldiers prefers using this method to overwhelm the Shaolin assassins. It didn't work.