Lo Lieh makes his directorial debut and stars in this excellent period kung fu effort, which is a follow-up of sorts to Lau Kar-leung's EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN. The release of Shaolin students from prison, and their plan to rebuild Shaolin Temple, is perceived as a threat to The White Lotus Clan. Their leader, The White Lotus (Lo), orders his followers to slaughter the rebels to avenge the death of his classmate, Pai Mei. Some of the Shaolin fighters manage to escape, including Hung Man-ting (Gordon Lau Kar-fai), though most die in the ensuing attacks. After spending time working on his Tiger Crane style of kung fu, Man-ting sets out to challenge The White Lotus but is thoroughly outclassed by the old master. The problem with Man-ting's technique is not one usually encountered: he is using too much force and must learn a more gentle form of combat to counter White Lotus' powers! After much practice, he merges a new effeminate style with the Crane Beak and seeks out White Lotus again. Although most effective, he is unable to locate his opponent's vulnerable spot. Badly injured, he is saved from certain death only by a revolutionist's acupuncture treatment. This inspires Man-ting to add yet another facet to his martial arts.
Likeable heroes, a wonderful villain, and kung fu (choreographed by Lau Kar-leung) that is both outstanding and offbeat combine to make this a superior Shaw Brothers effort. In contrast to EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN, the tone here is generally lighter (Man-ting must also adopt womanly duties, like embroidery and childcare, to perfect the "Woman’s Fist"), but there is still a fair amount of character development. The various skirmishes are well-staged and the training sequences are particularly good. On the basis of what he achieves here, it is a genuine shame that Lo directed so few films. Kara Hui Ying-hung (in excellent form as Man-ting’s sifu), Lin Hui-huang, Johnny Wang Lung-wei, Yeung Ching-ching, and Hsiao Hou also appear.