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Film / The Black Enforcer

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The Black Enforcer is a 1972 Shaw Brothers martial arts period piece directed by Ho Meng-hua, starring Tang Ching as the titular enforcer.

Kung Tien-Lung, a lawful Ming Dynasty Imperial officer whose reputation has earned him the nickname "The Black Enforcer" is currently on one last tour of duty, to escort the convicted murderer and bandit lord, Yun-Fei (long-time Shaw villain actor Tien Feng), through the mountains of the Mongolian border. Stopping over at his home where Tien-Feng rendezvous with his mother and sister, and eager to come back to them a few days later, his plans for a reunion are cut short when a legion of bandits working for Yun-Fei attacks his home. With his comrades, and his family, killed in the ensuing battle, and himself a wanted fugitive suspected to be working with the bandits, Tien-Feng, the once-honourable Black Enforcer, is sentenced to 15 years in prison.


15 years later, Tien Feng sets out on a bloody path of revenge.

The Black Enforcer contains examples of:

  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Early in the film, Tien-Lung wakes up to bandits attacking his home and killing several of his fellow escorts, and his house on fire, where he grabs his sword and starts battling enemies just as the entire building is set alight to save his mother and sister. It doesn't work.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Tien-Lung the hero is a Ming Dynasty version of this trope.
  • Chiaroscuro: The scene where Tien-Lung confronts the villains in a dimly-lit basement is framed in this fashion.
  • Clear My Name: Averted: after being framed and thrown into prison, Tien-Lung, instead of making any attempts to clear himself of working with the bandits, only stayed there. It was only 15 years later when he finished serving his sentence, at which point he goes out for revenge.
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  • Duel to the Death: Considering Tien-Lung spent most of the movie seeking Yun-Fei, the criminal who wiped out his family, fittingly enough the film's final action scene is an epic duel between both of them, mano-on-mano. Tien-Lung wins.
  • Frame-Up: Tien-Lung, after the night at his mother's place goes horribly wrong. Getting knocked out cold in the process, when he wakes up he's the only survivor, and have been framed for working with Yun-Fei and his mooks.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: After the prologue following a 15-year skip, both Tuen Lung the hero and Yun-Fei the Big Bad have moustaches.
  • Grim Up North: One of the few wuxia films set in the Mongolian border, where it's heavily snowing from the first scene to the last and characters are constantly clad in heavy furs.
  • In a Single Bound: Tien-Lung and Yun-Fei can leap several meters into the air vertically, especially in the final battle that have them scaling treetops while clashing.
  • Left Stuck After Attack: Subverted. The final duel have a moment of weakness for Tien-Lung lunged forward at his sworn enemy, Yun-Fei, only to accidentally embed the tip of his sword into a tree. Yun-Fei sees this as a chance to retaliate as Tien-Lung struggles to retrieve his sword, but Tien-Long instead side-steps Yun-Fei's attack before shoving the villain into his stuck sword, where Yun-Fei lands throat-first''.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Tien-Lung's mother allows him and his fellow escorts a night at her place, while his sister is actually kind enough to offer the murderous Yun-Fei and his fellow captured thugs a nice meal, even though they are convicted murderers. For that, both of them ends up getting killed when Yun-Fei's thugs attacks the place to bail him out.
  • Retirony: Escorting Yun-Fei to the Imperial Capital was Tien-Feng's last mission. It doesn't end well.
  • Slashed Throat: How Yun-Fei the Big Bad is killed at the end.
  • Sword Fight: Everybody use swords in combat, and often with gory results.
  • Time-Passage Beard: Yun-Fei the villain doesn't have any facial hair early in the film, when he's a wanted convict escorted by Tien-Lung. After a 15-year Time Skip, when the falsely imprisoned Tien-Lung is released, when Yun-Fei reappears he does have a beard and stache.
  • Time Skip: Tien-Lung, early in the film, gets framed for assisting Yun-Fei and the bandits escape from captivity. He gets thrown into prison for his troubles, and when he got out it's been 15 years.
  • Wuxia