swordsman Chu Liu-Hsiang (Ti Lung) has been accused of murdering
the leaders of the three most powerful clans in the Martial world.
Together with mercenary Yi (Ling Yun) and the chivalrous Black
Pearl (Li Ching) he sets out to find the real killers.
Hsiang follows one clue to the next
and is eventually led to the Magic Palace, which is inhabited
by a bunch of hot bisexual princesses. Had this been a category
3 film, Hsiang would have been extremely distracted. Instead,
Hsiang discovers the identity of the real killer, who also happens
to be sexually ambiguous. Along the way, he also uncovers a dangerous
plot to try and gain control of the Martial world.
The same team that made The Magic
Blade is responsible for Clans of Intrigue, and both
films were based on classic novels. However, Clans is lighter
on action and heavier on narrative twists and turns than its predecessor.
That's not to say that there aren't some great fights; after all,
this is a Shaw Brother's movie starring Ti Lung. The sword fights
and kung fu are top notch. But, the overall emphasis is not on
action, but on finding the identity of the killer and aborting
their evil plan. The narrative is very good, especially towards
the end of the film when lots of double crossing occurs between
Princess Yin Chi (Pei Tei) and Kung Nan-Yen (Nora Miao).
True to form for a Shaw Bros. picture,
the visuals are alive with color and texture. The costumes are
particularly lavish in this film and everyone looks perfect even
when they're fighting. If there ever was a reason to purchase
a Region-Free DVD player, the Celestial Pictures distribution
of many of these Shaw Classics is it. Clans of Intrigue
is no exception. (Magicvoice 2003)