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Fx (1973)
All Men Are Brothers


Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 01/29/2008

"All Men are Brothers" is not so much a sequel to "The Water Margin" (1972) as it is an extension, sold separately (if you will). The script, co-written by director Chang Cheh, draws from the same well as its predecessor (a series of 16th Century folktales assembled into a four novel compilation) but in contrast is virtually plot deficient.

The surviving outlaws of the original 108 from the superior first installment find their numbers in further decline as a result of a thwarted raid on the rebels' final holdout (a walled city complete with a waterway which the outlaws fail to exploit for no other reason than ridiculous script writing).

So where's the hook?

Admittedly, nothing more than the fact that "All Men are Brothers" is nearly 100% visceral Chang Cheh martial arts cinema via returning action choreographers Liu Chia Liang (Lau Kar-leung), Lau Kar-wing, Chan Chuen, and Tong Gai.

For better or worse the film ultimately comes off like 101 minutes of deleted action sequences from "The Water Margin" which few fans of the genre will likely have any major qualms with.

Combined and re-edited the two installments could have reached the heights of classic Shaw Brothers or at the very least made for a really good swordsman epic.

Individually, each film is a flawed piece of entertainment and often of dubious merit.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 08/13/2006
Summary: Now THAT'S more like it!

Following their exploits in THE WATER MARGIN, the 108 Liang Shan bandits pursue another corrupt Sung official in the Hangzhou province. When their raiding party is uncovered thanks to the enthusiastic but impetuous Black Whirlwind (Fan Mei-Sheng), several key members of Liang Shan are trapped in the province when the Emperor closes all gates in the fort-like city. The officials then assume they can hunt down the bandits at their leisure, but they hadn’t reckoned on Yan Qing (David Chiang) and his uncanny ability to climb walls. The Liang Shan bandits then have to launch a rescue party against the fortified city to save their fellow heroes, and to overthrow the corrupt leaders.

ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS follows directly on from THE WATER MARGIN, but is a different kettle of fish entirely. The characters introduced at the beginning of the first film generally have a part to play in this one (although Ti Lung is again noticeably absent for the most part). It is markedly different from THE WATER MARGIN in every respect – not least the fight choreography, which is much beefier this time around. Another key difference is the musical score. Gone is the contemporary soundtrack, and is replaced by a more traditional sounding score, which fits the setting much better.

Special note must be made of the sets on this film. The Shaw Brothers seem to have created an entire fortified city for this, and it looks magnificent and convincing. One side of it is even built against the ocean complete with retractable wood topped net fence to deter an invasion by sea. When the city is closed down, trapping the bandits, it does create quite a feeling of excitement.

David Chiang-fearing viewers need not be put off either. Although he is still the main star, Chen Kuan-Tai and Danny Lee have their chance to shine as well. The former has a particularly prolonged and bloody fight against many adversaries, which sees him getting a gushing dagger wound for his troubles. I really don’t know why the bad guys bother stabbing Chen Kuan-Tai – it only pisses him off! But it’s Fan Mei-Sheng who is arguably the star of this film, with his brainless but loyal Black Whirlwind – a real scene-stealer.

With better fighting and a better storyline, this eclipses WATER MARGIN by some length, and is highly recommended.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: PAUL MARTINEZ
Date: 11/24/2004
Summary: Epic Conclusion

This is the sequel to Water Margin and if seen together, truly does feel like an epic story. Although this film differs greatly from its predecessor.

The story of the 108 heroes continues with a new nemesis, an Emperor of a well guarded city. The biggest difference to me is that while in the first film the heroes were unbeatable no matter what odds, here most of our heroes die in bloody battles. Of course this comes after the fallen one would first kill about 40 enemies singlehandedly. A much tighter story than in Water Margin with not much in the way of any sub-plots. Also there weren't tons of new characters being introduced for no reason at all.

David Chiang continues to ham it up while inexplicably Ti Lung's Character gets almost no screen time until the end. One performance did stand out for me. That was given by Fan Mei Sheng as the Black Whirlwind. While I found his character annoying in Water Margin I enjoyed his role here.

Action sequences and fight scenes were everywhere. Mostly consisting of 1 or 2 heroes killing dozens of enemy troops with ease only to finally fall in the end to one of the Emperor's Generals.

A decent film put on a broad stage. This is a story I would love to see made today with a little more in depth story-telling. Shaw Brothers fans put this on your must-see list but try to watch Water Margin first with this soon after if not immediately so you can get the full story effect.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/19/2004
Summary: ****/5

**** ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS: Another big budget epic that continues the tale of the Outlaws Of The Marsh from The Water Margin. A simpler story that cuts pretty much straight to the chase, and spends a large percentage of the running time on bloody fight scenes. Great production values and lots of fun

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 11/16/2003
Summary: Pretty good!!

Better than the water margins, this is the sequel, and believe it or not, DAnny LEe seems to be the main star in this movie. Ti Lung's role is very brief by the way. DAvid Chaing.......is David Chiang, what can i say, the only acting he does is showing a smiling face!!

The plot itself is interesting, how to break into a guarded town and kill their king, not so easy, as the death toll just keeps rising, with a lot of red paint seen everywhere!!

I liked this better than the water margins, this felt more like a epic movie!!

7.25/10


Reviewed by: battlemonkey
Date: 12/21/1999

The heroes try to infiltrate a walled city, and have manygrand adventures. More of the same. More action than 7 BLOWS, which this is a sequel to.