Director: Joseph Kuo
Notable Cast: Carter Wong, Polly Shang-Kuan, Tien Peng, Ko Yu-Min, Mark Long
It’s not that difficult, really. Making a sequel to The 18 Bronzemen is as simple as it gets when it comes to kung fu cinema. All one would need to do is choose a new character or characters, send them to the same temple that featured the Bronzemen littered challenges, and voila. Instant sequel. In its own way, the loose sequel that did eventually come out, The Return of the 18 Bronzemen, does exactly that. New character, new Bronzemen challenges, new movie.
Yet, there are so many strange choices buried in this film that it’s both a film that is superior AND inferior to its predecessor. In its own way, The Return of the 18 Bronzemen is a film that leans into the tropes of the kung fu movie, playing on the expectations of the original or other films of its ilk, and then taking a massive leap by undercutting expectations as it goes - particularly in its final act. It creates a film that feels as though it’s at a tug of war with itself. One end pulling towards mainstream fan appeal. One end pulling towards subverting it.