Blood Money


AKA: Bloody Money, The Stranger and the Gunfighter

Year of release: 1974

Genre: martial arts/western

Director: Antonio Margheriti

Producer: Run Run Shaw, Gustave Berne

Writers: Miguel De Echarri, Barth Jules Sussman

Cinematography: Alejandro Ulloa

Editing: Giorgio Serrallonga

Music: Carlo Savina

Stars: Lee Van Cleef, Lo Lieh, Wang Hsieh, Chan Shen, Cheng Miu, Karen Yip, Patty Shepard, Femo Benussi

Rated R for violence and brief nudity

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This martial arts/western mash-up produced by the Shaw Brothers and Harbor Films studios initially holds some promise, as it has two of the biggest stars of their respective genres, Lo Lieh and Lee Van Cleef. However, the execution here is sub-par, resulting in a motion picture that comes off as an interesting experiment, rather than compelling viewing material.

The story revolves around a set of women's asses. Seriously. A Chinese tycoon has absconded with a fortune, and the key to finding it has been tattooed on the derrieres of four different ladies. The tycoon's nephew (Lo Lieh) and a grizzled gunslinger (Lee Van Cleef) team up to track down the loot, with a crazy preacher with his own nefarious designs on the cash in hot pursuit.

For those of you expecting a lot of kung fu on display here, you'll be disappointed. There are very few fight scenes, and what is presented frankly isn't all that good. The fights are shot and edited poorly, and the overdependence on tricks like wires and trampolines makes matters worse. The biggest negative element surrounding the fisticuffs is the soundtrack. Were the film-makers going for comedic effect? I'm not sure, but the jangly music and cartoony sound effects only make the fight scenes seem ridiculous instead of exciting.

There are a few good elements to Blood Money. Namely, even through a English dub job, Lo Lieh and Lee Van Cleef have good chemistry together, which makes their scenes together fun to watch for the most part. But when you have a story that is not interesting at all combined with action scenes that make kids stuff like Power Rangers seem cutting edge, it'll take a lot more than good chemistry to give this movie anything more than a very mild recommendation.