Shi er jin pai (Twelve Gold Medallions) (1970)
Director: Kang Cheng.
Starring: Ping Chin (Chin, Suo), Hua Yueh (Miao Lung), Chiao Chiao (Chin Huan), Miao Ching (Chin Yan-Tang), Chung-Hsin Huang (Lei Ting), Hsieh Wang (Ma Shan-Ting), Kun Li (Hsiao Erh), Chih-Ching Yang (Sung Hsi-cheng), Feng Ku (Lu Yi-Kuei), Wen Chung Ku (Meng Ta-Bei), Wei Lu (Hu Chuan), Mei Sheng Fan (Ma Tai ), Liu Hung, Kuang Yu Wang (Kao Feng), Wen Ching Cheng (Meng Hsiang).
a man loyal to the emperor, tries to stop a message on 12 gold medallions to be delivered by traitors
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film.
"During the 10th year of the reign of Emperor Shao Hsing of Southern Sung dynasty, the tartars invaded China from the north, and the national capital was in grave danger. The great patriotic general Yao Fei and his 100,000 men put up a heroic resistance to the advancing tartars. Traitor Chin Hui in a desperate bid to negotiate with the enemy rushed out twelve imperial decrees to stop General Yao's action, but the chivalrous swordsman pledged to intercept the mercenary messengers from reaching General Yao. And a series of fierce battles broke out."
A rider rides his horse fast, until another man, standing on the roof of a building, throws a rope around his neck and hauls him up to the roof saying he wants the medallions. The messenger tries to fight the man, but is killed instead. The messenger carried with him a message written on a small board. The man on the roof throws the board into the air and slashes it into multiple pieces in the air.
A second messenger comes riding hard and the man that stopped the first messenger now stops the second one by thrusting his sword into the messenger. The assassin killed the messenger after jumping up out of a hole in the ground.
People in town talk about General Yue who has won many battles against the Jin army. They fees that most of their cities will be recovered. "But why did the Emperor send out the imperial decree to him? The word is that it was Qin Hui's idea. Qin wants to incriminate the general." Another man says: "No wonder the patriotic swordsmen are snatching the medallions."
All of a sudden, someone yells: "Here come the officers!" The residents start fleeing for their lives. Two patriotic brothers also start running, but they decide to oppose the officers. One of the brothers hides on a rooftop, while the other hides in a tree. The brother in the tree is about to shoot an arrow into the leader's chest, when the leader slashes the assassin across the face with his whip and the brother falls to the ground. The brother jumps up, but the leader just gives him a couple more lashes. The other brother, the one on the roof, shoots an arrow at the leader, but the leader just catches it between his teeth. The leader uses the end of his rope to wrap it around the shooter's neck and pulls him to the ground.
Some of the people were watching the fight, but now that it's over, they run for their lives again. The leader now struts down the street, happy to see the fear in the people's eyes. But there is one man who just sits at a outside table eating his chicken. They walk over to him. The young fellow pays for his dinner by leaving money in a container hanging on a tree. The leader tells him to bring them some fried dough. The young fellow says he can do that, but then they must pay for their meal. The leader takes out a handful of coins but throws the coins up in the air and they all penetrate into the table's wooden surface. The coins stand up on their lower edges. The guy says come and get the coins, if he dares. The young man slams his hand down hard on the table. All the coins fly up into the air and land in the coin container hanging on the tree.
The young man then sticks his hand into hot oil to pick up the fried dough the leader wanted. The guys are again amazed.
The leader says that he's impressed and invites the young man to sit with him at the table. He asks the young man his name, but the stranger says he cannot tell them his name. The leader now tries to impress the stranger, pouring him some hot water in his cup and having a coin fall from the container into the cup holding the water. To top that, the stranger starts jiggling the table with his right hand held under the table. He jiggles the bowl with the coin over to the leader and the jiggles the leader's bowl over to him.
The leader says that he would fight the stranger, but the young man is unarmed. So he and his men start walking away. The stranger tells the leader to leave the medallion on the table before the leader and his men leave. The leader can't believe what he heard. The stranger tells him: "I've wanted to get rid of you for awhile, Lei Ting. You are such a bully with your golden whip. And now you're bribed by the traitor Qin Hui. Delivering the medallion to frame the general."
So the fight is on. Lei Ting goes after the stranger with his whip. The stranger grabs it and holds the whip for awhile before letting it loose. He then keeps dodging the whip. Lei Ting asks the stranger doesn't he have any more than what he has shown so far? So the stranger pulls out his sword that elongates in the air. Lei Ting recognizes the move and comments: "So, it's the Wavering Sword of Hua Shan." Miao Lung replies: "At least you know my swordplay."
Lei Ting says he will let Miao Lung live because he respects Hua Shan's master, Jin Yantang. Miao Lung, however, is not going to let Lei Ting go. The fight resumes. Miao Lung is able to throw Lei Ting onto a hay roof serving as an awning. Then the swordsman goes underneath the awning and stabs through the hay into Lei Ting's mid-section. Lei Ting falls off the awning. He tries to fight again but Miao Lung Shan just kicks him in the face and the leader goes down.
Meanwhile the gang members go into a restaurant and take the owners hostage. They send one of the owners out to invite Miao Lung in to have tea. The young swordsman says he has something he has to do, but the proprietor says he will get someone else to do what Miao Lung needs doing. So Miao Lung comes into the restaurant that is otherwise deserted. He asks for paper and pen and gets it. He writes something on the piece of paper. Soon Miao Lung is attacked by the gang members. He quickly kills three of the gang members. There is one man left. This man starts to sneak out quietly.
Suddenly a knife skewers a message onto wood on the second floor next to the retreating gang member. Miao Lung says he will let him go, if he delivers the message to the head of Juxian Hall: ". . . if he dares to deliver the medallions for Qin Hui again, he will soon be dead."
The head of Juxian Hall is enraged by the nerve of Miao Lung. A messenger comes in to say that the head of the Hua Shan clan, Jin Yantang, has arrived to speak to the head man, Mr. Ma. Mr. Ma says: "Jin Yantang, you dare to snatch the medallions and kill the officers? Golden Whip Lei Ting got killed in Heishi town by someone with the Wavering Sword." Furthermore, that style of fighting comes from the Hua Shan clan so Jin Yantang must be responsible for this death. Jin Yantang says he doesn't even know who the swordsman was. He adds that Prime Minister Qin called together all the kung fu master to establish this Juxian Hall. And yet Mr. Ma could not even protect a few medallions. He goes on to say: 'I don't think you deserve to be in this position." He starts to walk out.
Mr. Ma stops the old man with his guards. He tells him they are going to have a little contest. He takes out the Golden Fan and attacks the old man with it. Mr. Ma is able to jab the fan into Jin Yantang's side. He thinks the old man is a goner, but Jin Yantang tells him to take his fan out. The man can't budge the fan. So with his staff Jin Yantang hits Mr. Ma in the left shoulder, drawing blood. He then places his staff on the head man's left shoulder and slowly forces him down onto his knees. When Jin Yantang takes back his staff, Mr. Ma lunges at him, but the old man just ducks and Mr. Ma hits the floor hard. He immediately gets up, but now Jin Yantang shoves his hand against Mr. Ma's chest. It leaves a bloody hand print on the man's chest. Blood gushes from Mr. Ma's mouth and he falls dead on the floor. Everyone now sees another bloody handprint, this one up against the wooden support beam just behind where Mr. Ma was standing.
The crowd is astonished at what happened. Jin Yantang starts walking away. But someone yells for the older man to wait. It's the spokesman for the Prime Minister. Everyone else but the three men file out of the hall. The spokesman says that Prime Minister Qin has seen Jin Yantang's impressive kung fu exhibition. So now, Jin Yantang will be the head of Juxian Hall. In addition, he will be responsible for delivering the golden medallions.
Miao Lung is on the roof listening to the conversation. Somehow, Jin Yantang senses someone is there and throws the Golden Fan through the roof tiles almost hitting Miao Lung.
Miao Lung sits down under a tree and examines his hat. The Golden Fan almost cut the hat in two. Jin Yantang comes up slowly on his horse. He sees the damaged hat in Miao Lung's hands. Miao Lung says: "Master, I've waited here the whole night for you." The Master replies: "So it was you on the roof?" Yes. The student tells his Master that he came to thank Jin Yantang for being his martial arts teacher for some 15 years. Master asks if his student is turning his back on him? The students answers: "I hade to, since Master is associated with the traitor Qin. I have no choice." Jin Yantang objects that Miao Lung was engaged to his daughter. So how can Miao Lung ever face her again? Miao Lung says he knows his daughter will be disappointed. He now wants to give Master the love token his daughter gave him. Master asks: "Do you need to get involved with the medallions?" The answer is: "By delaying the medallions from reaching Zhu Xian town General Yue can recover more territory." So the sword fight begins. The Master slightly wounds Miao Lung, but the wounded man jumps on the horse of the Master and rides off.
At home elder sister makes fun of her sister for not being able to even make a pair of shoes. She asks her if she is waiting for Miao Lung's return? Younger sister hides her face in her hands. The Master comes home rather upset. He tells his daughters that they are moving into the prime minister's residence. The younger sister is especially shocked at this remark. She tells her father that the prime minister is famous for abusing martial artists do do his dirty work and cautions him to be careful about this. Dad is just irritated at her for telling him this.
He switches the topic to Miao Lung. She gets very excited and says that he is supposed to come see her and when he comes he better bring a nice gift. Dad says he has something from Miao Lung for her, Jin Suo. Now she's really excited. Then dad hands her the love ring that she gave Miao Lung. Dad says that he broke off the engagement and is with someone else now. Little sister is upset and so mad that she tells her father that if she ever sees him again, she is going to kill him.
Miao Lung rides into town. He goes back to the restaurant place where he killed three of the gang members. He asks the proprietor for a room with a window facing south. The proprietor gives him a room with a window providing a view of the regular path from Lin An to Zhu Xian town. The inn keeper says that the Sung citizens are all depending on him.
The Master tells a messenger that this will be the first medallion delivery. He tells the delivery man to be careful, but the guy says there's nothing to worry about. He has a plan that will render even superb swordsmen useless.
On the road in a wagon the man and his partner are stopped by a group of swordsmen. They look through the wagon and finds some gold coins. But the man examining the coins says to let the men go because they've made a mistake. They continue on their journey and a woman, Jin Suo, jumps down onto the wagon and holds a knife to the delivery man's throat. He cries out not to hurt him because he's an old man. She tells him to stop that talk, because she knows he's the man of a thousand faces, Hu Quan. The "old man" now tries to get the knife from the woman. She jumps off the wagon and then the two men jump after her. She is able to knock the old man out, but has a tougher time with his partner. Finally, the woman nails the partner with her knife up against a tree trunk.
She finds the wagon's secret compartment and goes to grab the package. But Hu Quan had set up a trap for anyone reaching into the compartment. Her hand is caught in the trap. Now Hu Quan appears and tells her to drop her weapon. She throws her knife into a board on the ground. While he is enjoying her capture, she stomps on the board which sends the knife flying into the air. She grabs the knife and then throws it into Hu Quan's chest. She pushes the wagon to the dead body and retrieves her sword. Then she frees her hand from the trap with the knife.
Jin Suo opens the compartment and sees the medallion but she just tosses it away thinking it's of no importance. She starts to leave, but runs into Miao Lung. She glares at him. He tries to talk with her, but she tells him congratulations on his new girlfriend and then heads out.
Back at home, Jin Suo tells elder sister that their father is blinded by power. She also explains that she stole the medallion on the basis of her own conscience. Jin Suo feels her wrist and realizes that her love token is gone.
The partner of Hu Quan survives and brings the love token to her father. Dad says: "My own daughter against me! I won't let her get away with this." Elder sister overhears the conversation and runs to get her sister. She pulls her outside and tells her to run. Jin Suo leaves, but her father' men now grab her sister.
Elder sister is brought before her father. He shoves her in the chest and she dies like Mr. Ma died. And now he will get Jin Suo. Three men come after her. She jumps off her horse into a tree and the three riders just pass by her. At night she waits by the road. All of a sudden the three men appear before her. They are the group known as the Bingling Trio. The men taunt and tease her. They start throwing her back and forth as if she were a ball. They let their guard down and she stabs one of the men in the mid-section. She tries to get away but they throw two concussion grenades at her and she drops to the ground.
The explosions, however, draw attention to their location. And here comes Mao Lung on Jin Suo's horse. He kills one and then the other brother. He now again tries to talk with Jin Suo, but she is still filled with resentment. She rides away without thanking him for saving her life.
The three bodies of the brothers are brought before Jin Yantang. One of his men tells Jin Yantang that they know where the Ten Swords of Qing Shan are -- in and around the Wohu mountain. The Master says he wants these enemies killed after they deliver the gold medallions.
A man with an arrow in his shoulder falls off his horse. Ten Swords of Qing Shan run out to see who is it. The wounded man says they are with the traitors, but they tell him they are certainly not with the traitors. The fellow now tells them he is the student of Master Fenglei. He was hurt when he was investigating the medallion paths and was on his way to report to his Master. The medallions are going out on three different routes: Jinfeng, Peak, Luanshi Mound and the Lema Bridge. He tells the men to hurry to intercept the messengers. The men leave. After they have gone, the wounded man pulls out the two pieces of his fake arrow, the tail and head of the arrow. He then takes out some padding from his shirt. And he releases a dove.
The ten swordsman start crossing Lema bridge when they are meet at the front and the back by men sent out by Jin Yantang. At about the same time five swordswomen are also attacked. One of the women ii hit in the wrist while another arrow goes through her body. All the women are killed. Moreover, only seven of the ten swordsmen survive.
A big carriage comes riding down the path. Miao Lung looks out the window of his room and then comes rushing outside. The townspeople gather around the carriage. The back of the carriage is filled with dead bodies. A man explains that they were killed at the Lema bridge. The people take up donations to pay for the necessary coffins. Miao Lung shows up in town with the once partner of Hu Quan. He donates some money to the fund. He now says he will be over at the Fulai Inn.
The partner seems to recognize Miao Lung. Jin Yantang takes a room in the Inn where Miao Lung is staying. He has with him one of the medallions. The partner knocks on the room door and comes in to say he thinks the swordsman is Miao Lung and he seems to have recognized the two of them. Miao Lung sits down in the restaurant below. The partner goes out of the Inn first and then comes his boss. Miao Lung stops him to say that he wants to buy the man a drink. He finally gets the man to sit down. Now Miao Lung asks the proprietor to get rid of all the other customers. He does so. Miao Lung's guest is getting more and more anxious after each group leaves the inn.
Now Miao Lung closes and locks the front door. So it's only the two men alone in the restaurant. Miao Lung says he sent everyone away because there is going to be a fight between he and his guest. The guest insists that he has never been in a fight in all his life. But when Miao Lung lunges at the man with his sword the guest jumps away from him as if he was a swordsman. Now he tells Miao Lung that he is the Smiling Fox Sung Qicheng. The fight starts. The older man starts putting out all the candles. When it's all dark inside each man stays quiet for awhile. The old man throws a pot through the tiles of the roof hoping Miao Lung will betray his position. Miao Lung does not fall for it. Now Miao Lung creates a dummy out of materials at hand and the sly fox jumps at the dummy. Miao Lung is now able to kill the man.
Miao Lung checks for the medallion, but the man did not have it with him. So Miao Lung goes to see the partner. But the partner has has already taken off on a horse. Miao Lung borrows a horse and goes after the man. He follows the man to a bunch of ruined buildings. He follows the blood trail. He keeps looking around until someone throws the medallion at him. He catches it with his sword. From her hiding spot, Jin Suo asks is that what he was looking for? Miao Lung knows it's Jin Suo, but she tells him to stay where he is. She wounded the partner and took the medallion from him and now the man has fled. She tells her ex-boy friend that she doesn't want to see him. He tells her he knows she has been hit with a Scorpion Dart from the color of the blood on the medallion. He says he can detoxify her wound, if she will come with him to the Inn. She calls him a heartless man. He tries to grab her, but she fights him. He finally knocks the knife from her hand and pulls the Scorpion Dart out of her arm. She passes out and he is able to put a bandage on the arm to stop it from bleeding.
Just as the bandage is on Jin Suo's left arm, the so-called Mountain-Slicing Quad shows up. These fellows, supposedly, are the good guys, but they think that Miao Lung is with the prime minister. Apparently the partner convinced them that he is on their side and Miao Lung it out to kill him and take the medallion. And, sure enough, the partner shows up and scolds Miao Lung for being a traitor. So the fight begins anew. Miao Lung is doing very well when a new Master shows up. Miao Lung is amazed and asks the old man if he is the Green Bamboo Cane Old Master Meng? Yes. Miao Lung says these men with them have been fooled. So the Master decides to think through this whole situation. He finally realizes that the partner is really the one working with Jin Yantang. Now the partner hides behind a tree. The Master puts his sword all the way through the tree trunk and in and out of the partner's body.
Back at the Inn, Miao ties the partner's body to a horse along with a sign on it. He says the horse knows the way back to Jin Yantang's place. The horse takes off for home.
Jin Suo is in Miao's room. He goes up to try to detoxify her, but she refuses any treatment. She says she's going ou with just her pajamas on, so Miao says she can go. But as soon as she runs into the first male and she sees the expression on his face, she turns and goes back into the room. Now she will permit Miao to detoxify her arm. He does so.
She asks him what did he do with the handkerchief she gave him? He says he threw it away. Now, her anger goes to scalding hot and she starts throwing things. She picks up his clothes and starts tearing them up, but in one of the pockets of a sweater, she finds the red handkerchief she gave him. Now she calms down.
When Miao Lung comes back into the room with her clothes, he tells her now she can go anywhere she wants to go. Jin Suo now fakes that her wound hurts her terribly. But she immediately jumps up to hear the latest news. Since so many messengers have been been killed in their area, the town is under martial law for three days. He tells her that she couldn't even stand up and she tells and shows him that he still has her handkerchief.
The man announcing the news says: "This round the head of Juxian Hall will go into action. Whoever ignores the order will be killed as the medallion robbers. The head of Juxian Hall will kill the messenger himself."
Miao Lung now tells his ex- that the only person who can face Jin Yantang is Green Bamboo Cane Meng Dabei. Jin Suo tells him to go find the Master. Jin Suo goes to speak with the Master. He wants nothing to do with it. She asks him if he is afraid to leave his mountain because he wouldn't dare fight against her father?
The Master's daughter, Miss Meng, comes down to explain to Jin Suo why her father doesn't want to get involved in this. Her father was away most of her life. Just before her mother died, she got father to promise that he would never leave his daughter's side again. That's why he doesn't want to get involved. Now he only wants to spend his retirement time with her in a life of peace and quiet. Now all the young people decide to combine their forces together to oppose Jin Yantang.
Jin Yantang and his five men race to the small town. The group wait to try and ambush him. But Jin Yantang and his men split up. The group observes this and then see that the Master has come to them after all. He says he stills has some ideas of how to handle Mr. Jin Yantang.
Miao Lung knocks a couple enemy off their horses. Four men get ropes on Miao Lung's arms and legs. But he overcomes these men and kills them all with his sword. Now he fights the fifth and last man of the group. After all that fighting Miao Lung discovers another medallion, which he throws into the bushes.
And now the two old Masters meet again. They circle each other and then the flight begins. Jin Yantang is losing so he starts to act as if he is surrendering. Then when the other Master relaxes a bit, he hits him over the head with his sword. A little later he hits the other Master two more times with his sword and he goes down for good.
Miss Meng sees her father's horse return without her father. She grabs the horse, gets on it and goes to check on her father. Jin Yantang comes over to her and the two start to fight. But the woman is not a match with the Master who uses a kind of magic to defeat her. Then the three brothers show up to fight Jin Yantang. The old man kills the three young men. Now his daughter arrives to fight her father. He says he raised her for seventeen years so he will now give her 17 cuts. He gives her and and tells her there are fourteen more to go. He cuts her eleven more times. He says now she has only three more to come.
Miao Lung is racing his horse to save his beloved. Dad cuts daughter two more times and is ready to deliver the death blow. But his attention is diverted to Miao Lung. They start fighting. Jin Yantang is doing well, but his wounded knee now really starts flowing with blood. He is becoming weaker. As the two men fight, Jin Suo begs her father to just hand over the medallion. He refuses. The fight continues until the old man just runs out of steam. Miao Lung prepares to land the death blow, but the daughter calls out to him. He does not deliver the death blow. He takes the medallion and starts back to help Jin Suo. The old man gets up and cuts Miao Lung across the left shoulder. The medallion goes up in the air and the Master grabs it. He then wounds Miao Lung across his back. His daughter jumps on him. He stabs her in the mid-section. With the help of a bent-over bamboo tree, Miao Lung flies over to the father and runs his sword into the Master's mid-section.
Miao Lung goes over to check on Jin Suo. She is still alive.
"The unknown heroes shed blood and laid down their lives for national honor. Unfortunately, traitor Chin Hui managed to distract the attention of the swordsmen while an emissary delivered another imperial decree to Gen Yao at Chu Hsien. Yao was subsequently recalled to Lin An and was murdered at Feng Po Ting. Thus ended this officially unrecorded struggle for national survival."
Another Shaw Brothers production. The story is only based loosely on history. (See the historical background below.) The film is definitely an action film. Somebody is always fighting someone else throughout the film. The focus of the film is just to destroy the twelve medallions. That, however, is no easy task. Twelve medallions means 12 fights at least, but there are may more than that.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
1126 -- the Jurchen-ruled Jin Dynasty invaded northern China, forcing the Song Dynasty out of its capital Kaifeng and capturing Emperor Qinzong of Song, who was sent into captivity in Manchuria. This marked the end of the Northern Song Dynasty, and the beginning of the Southern Song Dynasty under Emperor Gaozong.
1127-1279 -- the Southern Song Dynasty. Emperor Gaozong (1107–1187) was the tenth emperor of the Song Dynasty of China, and the first emperor of the Southern Song. He reigned from 1127 to 1162. Gaozong and the premier Qin Hui did not want the Song army to defeat the Jurchens, as this might result in Emperor Qinzong being restored to the throne. As a result, Gaozong and Qin plotted to frame Yue Fei for some ambiguous offence and had him put to death.
Emperor Shao Hsing reigned 1131-1162 during the Southern Song Dynasty. The Jin Dynasty weakened and pushed the Southern Song south along the Huai River. But the Southern Song had a strong economy and a good military. Especially outstanding were Generals Yue Fei and Han Shizhong. The Song Dynasty was able to fend off the Jin people. But the Southern Song Dynast, however, could not hold back the Mongols. Both the Jin Dynasty and Western Xia Dynasty were conquered by Mongol forces.
Gen. Yue Fei is best known for leading the defense of Southern Song against invaders from the Jurchen-ruled Jin Dynasty in northern China, before being put to death by the Southern Song government in 1142.
"Yue fought a long campaign against the invading Jurchens in an effort to retake northern China. Just when he was threatening to attack and retake Kaifeng, corrupt officials advised Emperor Gaozong to recall Yue to the capital and sue for peace with the Jurchens. Fearing that a defeat at Kaifeng might cause the Jurchens to release Emperor Qinzong, threatening his claim to the throne, Emperor Gaozong followed their advice, sending 12 orders in the form of 12 gold plaques to Yue Fei, recalling him back to the capital. Knowing that a success at Kaifeng could lead to internal strife, Yue submitted to the emperor's orders and returned to the capital, where he was imprisoned and where Qin Hui would eventually arrange for him to be executed on false charges."
"The Secrets of Eagle Claw Kung Fu: Ying Jow Pai comments, "Finally, [Yue Fei] received the 'Twelfth Golden Edict' [from the emperor calling him back to the capital], which if ignored meant banishment. Patriotism demanded that he obey. On his way back to the capital he stopped to rest at a pavilion. Qin Hui anticipated Yue Fei's route and sent some men to lie in wait. When Yue Fei arrived, Qin's men ambushed and murdered him. Just 39 years old, Yue Fei like many good men in history, had a swift, brilliant career, then died brutally while still young." From Wikipedia.
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