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Na Cha the Great
entry from
The Encyclopedia of Martial Arts Movies

Ordinarily, this web site does not reproduce articles from items still in print or otherwise commonly available, but in the case of the films Heaven and Hell, Na Cha the Great, and Shaolin Hellgate, there have been errors made, so both this file and the review of Heaven and Hell on this site have been made available to correct the error.
In the book, The Encyclopedia of Martial Arts Movies, by Bill Palmer, Karen Palmer and Ric Meyers, and in the book, Asian Cult Cinema, by Thomas Weisser, it was wrongly reported that Shaolin Hellgate is an alternate title for Na Cha the Great, while in reality, Shaolin Hellgate is an alternate title for Heaven and Hell. Some of the confusion stems, no doubt, from the fact that the character, Na Cha, is featured in both Heaven and Hell and Na Cha the Great.

From The Encyclopedia of Martial Arts Movies, p. 240:

1948. Na Cha, the Great (1974). (Shaolin Hellgate). Pro.Co.: Chang's (Taiwan); Dir: Chang Cheh; MAI: Tang Chia, Liu Chia-liang; Cast: Fu Sheng, Chaing Tao, Lu Ti, Feng Ko-an, Yuen Man-tzu, Ling Hsiao. 92 min.

Based on an ancient Chinese legend from the Tang Dynasty, Na Cha was born 3,000 years ago to become the champion of the people and protect them from corrupt officials and demons. In the legend, a Taoist god is in league with the Emperor to take over the area and make it the new capitol of Peking. Demons reigned in the area, and Na Cha must fight them for the land.

In the movie, Na Cha (Fu Sheng) leaves his sheltered home to experience the real world. When he sees the townspeople being abused and enslaved, he interferes and, using his golden ring, kills one of the sons (Ling Hsiao) of the Ocean Demon, King Ao Kuang (Chaing Tao).

After being punished by his corrupt father who doesn't care about the people, one of the gods, Tai Yi Chen Jen, visits Na Cha and becomes his teacher. Na Cha is protected from the evil magic of the Ocean Demon by his teacher, but later runs into the Demon's other son (Feng Ko-an), and is forced to kill him. The enraged Demon King goes to Na Cha's father and demands that he kill his son. If not, the entire area will be flooded and everyone will die. Na Cha kills himself to protect the town, but is resurrected as a god by his teacher who gives him a flame-throwing spear and a pair of flaming wheels with which he can fly.

Na Cha immediately attacks the Ocean Demon in his underwater palace. When he wounds the King, it rains blood on Earth. Na Cha returns to town and makes trouble for the guards, saving the townspeople from their cruelty, and takes on the Ocean King and his men who bleed water! He is then doomed to fight his father in the sky for all eternity.

Although magic rules the day, there is plenty of well-choreographed martial arts. This is a must-see for Fu Sheng fans. There are reportedly five films in this series. (Subtitled version screened) 3 Stars.

For a commentary on the Na Cha the Great entry from The Encyclopedia of Martial Arts Movies by a friend of mine well versed in Chinese mythology named Michael Wong, click here. To view the Heaven and Hell entry from The Encyclopedia of Martial Arts Movies, click here.

Return to Chang Cheh Filmography | Return to Reviews of Movies Directed by Chang Cheh

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This page first constructed by Steven Feldman <scfeldman@juno.com> 10/21/00. Last update: 11/14/03.