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Film / The Lady Hermit

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Some scratches won't stop Cheng Pei-pei and Shih-szu from kicking all the ass...

The Lady Hermit is a 1971 Shaw Brothers Wuxia film starring Cheng Pei-Pei, Lo Lieh and Shih Szu, Taiwan's equivalent to Cheng Pei-pei as a new action actress, then a 19-year-old newcomer to the martial arts films industry.

The Black Demon and his gang are terrorizing a small town, and the only person who dares to oppose him is the mysterious Lady Hermit, a banshee-like avenger who occasionally shows up to stop his mooks from slaughtering the populace.

Young swordswoman Chui-ping (Shih-szu) has been idolizing the mysterious Lady Hermit and seeks to be the hermit's student, and as such decide to track down the hermit by killing off the Black Demon's minions too, attracting attention on herself. After a fateful run-in with chivalrous swordsman Chang-cun, both of them ends up meeting the elusive Lady Hermit in the midst of a battle against Black Demon's thugs.

The Lady Hermit provides the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Yu-shuang, the titular Lady Hermit, and Chui-ping, her budding successor.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: It’s either between Yu-shuang and Chui-ping, Chui-ping and Chang-cun or Yu-shuang and Chang-cun.
  • Badass Teacher: Yu-shuang to Chui-ping.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted, Chui-ping and Yu-shuang gets plenty of blood and scratches on their faces, which are even prominently displayed on DVD covers and posters.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Yu-shuang in the climax, after a one-on-one epic final battle against the Black Demon.
  • Elite Mook: The disciples of the Black Demon are elite fighters clad in white, wearing black vests and red Martial Arts Headband. They put up a better fight than the usual minions in brown robes, and if they attack in dozens they can actually pose a threat to the heroes.
  • Eye Scream: Yu-shuang kicks a handful of chopsticks towards a bunch of mooks, two which ends up in the lead mook's eyes.
  • Hold the Line: The climax of the movie had Yu-shuang, Chui-ping and Chang-cun battling the Black Demon’s entire legions of mooks at the foot of his pagoda. As the Black Demon made it to the top of the tower, Chang-cun decides to hold off the remaining Elite Mook bodyguards so that Yu-shuang and Chui-ping can make their way up the tower.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: An Elite Mook fighting Yu-shuang in a bamboo forest meets his end when she slice a bamboo tree into half and shoves him back-first into the pointy tip.
  • Improvised Weapon: Chang-cun managed to kill mooks by flinging bowls into their faces. Somehow (maybe the lowest-tier mooks are Made of Plasticine?).
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: The final showdown consists of Yu-shuang and Chui-ping pursuing the Black Demon through his pagoda lair, each level being guarded by his Praetorian Guard Mook Lieutenant, where both ladies have to kill their way to the top to confront him personally.
  • Mook Lieutenant: The Black Demon’s most powerful minions are the long-haired fighters clad in flowing yellow robes, who uses unique weapons including halberds and whips unlike the usual sword-wielding mooks. They also tend to be more acrobatic, puts up a better fight and can be seen ordering the usual mooks around.
  • Off with His Head!: During Yu-shuang's flashback where she brutally kills three Elite Mook which are terrorizing a restaurant, the last surviving mook had his head sliced off by her sword.
  • One-Man Army: Yu-shuang, Chui-ping and Chang-cun at various points of the movie, taking on legions and legions of mooks alone or with either one or two of the other. By the end of the film each protagonist has slain enough of the Black Demon’s minions to fill an empty morgue, and Yu-shuang herself easily leads the onscreen kill-tally.
  • Protagonist Title: Subverted, Chui-ping is the Decoy Protagonist where the movie is allegedly focused more on her, but Yu-shuang The Lady Hermit is the one with the most amount of development throughout the movie.
  • Red Baron: The Big Bad of the movie is simply nicknamed the Black Demon, but given what he’s called by everyone else, including his own mooks, its pretty clear he’s not really jolly guy to hang out with.
  • Rasputinian Death: The Black Demon gets slashed through the gut, stabbed in the forehead by two daggers, have four more daggers shoved into his midsection, and somehow soldiers through his injuries trying to finish off Yu-shuang in a last-ditch move until she strikes him down before he can succeed.
  • Take It to the Bridge: A huge fight scene in the middle of the movie occurs between Chui-ping and several mooks, who corners her in the middle of a rope bridge high over a river. In a scene that’s hilariously reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (which came out after this movie, mind you) Chui-ping decides to cut the rope bridge while grabbing to its sides, causing the bridge to split from the middle and most of the mooks to fall to their deaths. Chui-ping even tries climbing upwards while mooks above her try to knock her off by stomping her fingers, much like what Mola Ram attempts on Indy!
  • White Shirt of Death: Subverted; in her final battle against the Black Demon Yu-shuang gets plenty of her own blood all over her snow-white dress, but ultimately she survives the movie.