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Film / The Crimson Charm

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Now now, we all know the redder the colour of a poster, the higher a film's onscreen bodycount. Right?

The Crimson Charm is a 1971 Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Movie starring Ivy Ling-po (Fourteen Amazons), Chang Yi (The Bells of Death) and Shih Szu (The Lady Hermit).

The Crimson Charm gang of bandits are terrorizing the city, and when a noble martial arts warrior, Master Yu, and his daughter Yu Fang-fang (Ivy) attempts to intervene, they end up being targets of the Crimson Charm clan, who initiates a massacre killing every member of the Yu family except the daughter. Losing her arm and barely surviving the ordeal, Yu Fang-fang teams up with a wandering warrior, Han Yi (Chang) to put a stop to the Crimson Charm clan forever.


The Crimson Charm contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: There's Yu Fang-fang the heroine (played by Ivy Ling), and also another swordswoman Chiang Shang-ching (played by Shih-szu).
  • Alliterative Title
  • An Arm and a Leg: Part of Yu Fang-fang's backstory involves her losing her arm when the Crimson Charm gang invades Master Yu's hall and massacres everyone present.
  • Antagonist Title: The main villains of this film are the Crimson Charm gang, a powerful clan of bandits and murderers who kills innocent people for fun.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Predictably, the Crimson Chief, leader of the Crimson Charm gang, turns out to be their deadliest and most powerful warrior, who gives both Yu Fang-fang and Han Yi a really difficult battle in the finale.
  • Avenging the Villain: The Crimson Chief explicitly orders the extermination of the Yu family after his son (who had been killing innocent people nonchalantly and tried to rape an innocent woman, yes a bit of Moral Myopia does apply here) gets killed by Master Yu.
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  • Badass in Distress: Occurs to more than one character, such as when Chiang Shang-ching gets poisoned and has to be rescued by Han Yu, when Han Yu gets outnumbered by mooks in the forest until Godly Sword arrives, and when Yu Fang-fang barely survives her family's massacre, losing her arm in the process.
  • Bad with the Bone: One of the bandits in the opening uses an Epic Flail as a weapon... whose tip is a human skull instead of the traditional spiked ball.
  • Battle Couple: Yu Fang-fang and Han Yi in the finale, against the Crimson Chief's legion of thugs.
  • Bald of Evil: The Crimson Charm leader.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted, Yu Fang-fang gets some Blood from the Mouth as she gets struck down by the Crimson Chief ( she survives the movie).
  • Blood from the Mouth: On the Crimson Chief, Chiang and Yu Fang-fang at the conclusion of the final battle. She is the only one of the victims who didn't die before the credits.
  • BFS: Most of the Crimson Charm lieutenants use massive swords when leading their mooks around.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the most dire moments in the final fight against the Crimson Chief, Master Chiang suddenly arrives giving Yu Fang-fang and Han Yi a much-needed assistance. Unfortunately he ends up being on the receiving end of the Chief's poisoned-dart launcher, but he does provide enough distraction for the heroes to turn the battle around.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Yu Fang-fang is a lady version of Jimmy Wang Yu's titular hero from One-Armed Swordsman.
  • Dual Wielding: Chiang Shang-ching uses dual shortswords in combat, and there are numerous elite fighters of the Crimson Charm gang who use dual knives or halberds as well. In the final battle Yu Fang-fang and Han Yi have to fight off numerous Elite Mooks dual-wielding mini-tridents.
  • The Drifter: Han Yi the wanderer, who travels from town to town while killing villainous scum everywhere he goes.
  • Flechette Storm: The Crimson Chief, besides his trusty BFS, also carries a shield bearing the Crimson Charm gang's insignia... which turns out to contain hidden poisoned darts, which he can fire a dozen at once.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In the final battle, one of the trident-swinging Elite Mooks gets pinned by Yu Fang-fang fifteen meters above ground level on a pillar, like a butterfly specimen. His body remains nailed on that spot for the entire duration of the final battle.
  • Mistaken Identity: One example that's NOT Played for Laughs. Right at the beginning of the film, bandits of the Crimson Charm gang enters an inn and mistaken a father and daughter to be Master Yu and Yu Fang-fang after a rather random conversation, and as one thing leads to another, the father ends up getting killed while the daughter is nearly gang-raped by the Crimson Charm's mooks. When the REAL Master Yu and Yu Fang-fang intervenes, they end up having their covers exposed allowing other bandit gangs under the Crimson Charm to follow, kicking off the subseuent plot of the film.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Some of the Crimson Charm gang's Mook Lieutenant baddies have names like the Crimson Chief, White-Faced King of Hades and Blood Master. Just to complete the "Hey look we're the bad guys" naming convention of the movie.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: When reaching the Crimson Charm's headquarters, Yu Fang-fang, Han Yi and Chiang are instantly surrounded by legions and legions of mooks. Chiang stares down those mooks and tells his friends to leave everyone outside for him. Much later in the final battle, Chiang suddenly barges in and ambushed the Crimson Chief, telling Yu Fang-fang and Han Yi he had "taken care of those outside". After the battle, Yu Fang-fang and Han Yi walks outside while carrying the now-deceased Chiang, and sure enough the entire courtyard is filled with dead Crimson Charm mooks.
  • One-Man Army: Both Yu Fang-fang and Han Yi can take on massive numbers of baddies even when alone.
  • Poisoned Weapons: The Crimson Chief's shield contains a secret compartment that fires poisoned darts, and a red poisonous gas. Since he's the main villain of the picture, sure enough he's the only character who uses this type of weapon in the entire movie.
  • Retractable Weapon: Yu Fang-fang's weapon appears to be an empty hilt, with the blade withdrawn in it which slides out with a quick swing.
  • Single-Stroke Battle:
    • When Godly Sword takes on the remnants of several mooks in the forest battle. Surrounded by a dozen enemies, he draws his sword as they charged at him - and seconds later all of them mooks are lying dead around Godly Sword's feet.
    • The showdown between Han Yi and the Crimson Chief ends in this manner as well, with both of them charging at each other, inflicting a hit, and stopping completely motionless for more than 5 seconds... before the Crimson Chief keels over, dead already before he even knew it.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: After losing her arm and presumed dead, Yu Fang-fang travels across the city while disguised as a one-armed man.
  • Wire Fu: Of course.
  • Wuxia


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