The Kid with the Golden Arm (1979) poster

The Kid with the Golden Arm (1979)

1h 01 min

Jin bei tong opens with a group of escort/guards preparing to move a shipment of gold from the local government to an area stricken by famine. One of the guards informs the escort chief, Yang Hu Yun (Sun Chien) that two mercenary fighters named Yen and Fang, are ready for them on the road and will act as scouts. Yang Hu Yun says that the local governors are relying on them to make sure the gold reaches the famine-stricken area, as the people there need it desperately to obtain food. They are awaiting the arrival of a special government agent named Hai To, but he has not arrived yet.One of the guards suddenly comes rushing in, mortally wounded. On his back, in his own blood, are painted the characters for the party responsible for the killing-- the Che Sa gang, a ruthless group of bandits. Yang Hu Yun orders his men to notify Yen, Fang, and a swordsman named Li (Wei Pai) and his girlfriend, who will also be assisting with the gold escort. The Che Sa gang are sending the guards a message that they are after the gold and intend to steal it for themselves.Yang Hu Yun orders his men to prepare to move out. He warns everyone that their group, and the mercenary fighters who will be aiding them, are very powerful, but the Che Sa gang is as well, and are partcularly ruthless. They are led by four Chiefs.The opening credits begin with a montage that shows the fighting style of each Chief. Number 1, Golden Arm (Lo Meng), is muscular and stocky, a master of unarmed hand and arm techniques. Number 2, Silver Spear (Lu Feng), has an acrobatic fighting style and wields a specially crafted spear in battle, which appears to be sculpted out of a single piece of solid silver. Number 3, Iron Robe, wields a steel fan with razor edges in battle, and his robe is covered with iron studs that act as armor against sword-slashes. Number 4, Brass Head, fights unarmed and wears a brass plate over his forehead, which makes his head butts lethal.The Chiefs are ranked by skill, not age. All of them are relatively young, and Golden Arm is the youngest of them. Despite this, all of them are infamous for their success. has also heard that the Che Sa have recently acquired some mercenaries of their own... a group known as the Seven Hooks, who are known for their cruelty and viciousness.Yen and Fang are scouting ahead on the road. They encounter the Seven Hooks, so named for the hook-like weapons they wield. But Yen and Fang prove superior in their teamwork and use of the weapons they wield; Yen uses a heavy poleaxe, while Fang wields paired hand axes. This has given them the nickname of 'Longaxe and Short axe.' Yen and Fang kill all Seven of the Seven Hooks.Miss Leng (Helen Poon), Swordsman Li's girlfriend, is walking ahead on her own when she encounters Iron Robe. He questions her on why she has been sent ahead alone. Leng says nothing, only holding her sword at the ready. But Iron Robe says he will not attack women, and says that he is letting her pass. But Iron Robe quickly shows his true colors, as a few of the Che Sa grunts are waiting in ambush. They strike at Leng as she starts to move past, but she slays them with a quick sword-draw maneuver, calling Iron Robe despicable. Iron Robe is unrepentant, caring only about winning. Several more Che Sa grunts come out of hiding as Iron Robe himself engages Leng in battle.But Iron Robe's fan is pushed aside by a hurled wine jug. The owner of this jug (Kuo Chui) quickluy leaps out of nearby bushes to catch it. He complains, mostly to himself, about only having drank three jugs of wine so far, and he couldn't be drunk. Unamused and not caring about drunkenness, Iron Robe attacks the man, who fends him off and slays the henchmen using only the wine jug as a weapon. No sooner is Leng safe when the mysterious man who saved her leaps back into the bushes, leaving her once again alone.Yang Hu Yun is leading his main body of men with the wagon containing the gold. Several of the escort service's scouts report in to say that Yen and Fang have slain the Seven Hooks, and that Leng was ambushed by Iron Robe, when a mysterious drunken man rescued her and promptly disappeared. Yang is thoughtful for a moment and realizes that the man must be Hai To, the government agent they'd been awaiting. Hai To is a drunk, who regards wine as his only friend, and that he fights best when he's intoxicated. Thinking another brief moment, he signals to the wagon driver and the convoy begins moving again.Leng meets Li at a tavern in a small town that the escort convoy must pass through. He is concerned about her being late, and she tells him that Iron Robe ambushed her and nearly killed her. The two sit, and the tavernkeeper and the head waiter are seen looking at Leng and Li intently. The head waiter signals to a table attendant who begins to pour wine for them, but suddenly grabs a sword from behind another table. But Li has anticipated this, quickly slaying the waiter with a single lightning sword stroke. The tavernkeeper feigns ignorance, outraged at the killing, until Li produces the sword the waiter used to try and ambush him. Continuing to feign ignorance, the tavernkeeper castigates the head waiter, who was responsible for the conduct of the lesser attendants. But as this is going on, the tavernkeeper is stealthily passed a spear which he uses to attack Li and Leng. The tavernkeeper and head waiter are Silver Spear and Brass Head in disguise, and the other attendants are all Che Sa grunts. As a battle breaks out, Silver Spear is seen glancing at a man standing outside the tavern.Li and Leng fend off the grunts, slaying several in the process, but Li is slowly backed up against one of the tavern walls. When he is close enough, the hidden man outside bursts his hands through the walls of the tavern, striking Li in the back. The man's hands are covered with a sandy substance that have administered a contact poison to Li-- the Sand Palm. Li slays the Sand Palm but is wounded. He and Leng slay several more of the grunts and escape from the tavern. Silver Spear orders his men in pursuit.But the grunt at the head of the pursuit runs smack into Hai To, who blithely walks into the tavern and seats himself as if having no idea what is going on. He gestures to Brass Head and orders a jug of wine. Brass Head glances at Silver Spear, who gestures to the wine racks, directing Brass Head to bring Hai To a jar. Brass Head does so, and Hai To quickly begins to guzzle it down. Growing impatient, Brass Head attacks Hai To, who parries the attack with the wine jug, causing it to shatter against Brass Head's metal headdress, which is covered with a cloth one to hide it.Seemingly more annoyed at the wine jug being wasted, than anything else, Hai To nonetheless reveals Brass Head and Silver Spear for who they really are. Silver Spear, not recognizing Hai To but seeing that he is exceptionally skilled in combat, condescendingly offers him a place among the Che Sa gang. But Hai To presents some outrageous conditions, among them his being the Number 1 Chief and that all the grunts must be done away with. He starts to recite a third condition, but can't seem to remember what it is. Knowing he is simply taunting them, the remaining grunts attack Hai To, but he kills one and escapes from the others.On the road, Leng is begging Li to rest while she finds a doctor to help him. But Li refuses the offer. He says his internal body control can fend off the Sand Palm poison for at least two days, which should be enough time for the mission to be accomplished. Fearful of losing Li, Leng accuses him of only caring about his own heroism, but Li again counters, saying he is willing to die for the sake of both Yang Yu Jun and the famine victims, while Leng wants to save Li only out of her own love for him-- who then, he asks, is being selfish.The whole guard convoy is resting at the town. Several scouts report in to Yang Hu Yun. Many rival gangs know of the gold shipment, but none dare try to steal it because they all know that the Che Sa gang is pursuing it, and the other gangs, being no match for Che Sa, are afraid of trying to compete with them. Yen and Fang also have a prisoner, who they caught loitering around the area where the convoy is resting, and who they suspect of being a Che Sa member. They try to interrogate him, but the loiterer tells them to go ahead and kill him-- he is not afraid, and he knows that torture is against their morale code. Acknowledging that attempting to learn anything would be futile, Fang gives the loiterer a quick and clean death.A secret panel in the floor suddenly opens up and Brass Head emerges, attacking the guard convoy. Yang Hu Yun realizes that the panel conceals a hidden tunnel through which the Che Sa have spirited the gold chests back onto the wagon and are preparing to spirit it away. He orders his men to stop them, but more Che Sa arrive in force, engaging them all in battle. As Brass Head and the Che Sa grunts battle the guard convoy, Iron Robe climbs in the wagon and starts to drive it off. Hai To stealthily stows away on the wagon, clinging to its underside and axles. When Iron Robe is out of both sight and earshot of his reinforcements, Hai To breaks the rear axle of the wagon, bringing it to a standstill. Iron Robe quickly lights a signal flare. Hai To comes out of hiding and casually taunts Iron Robe about nobody answering the signal flare.But one of the Che Sa grunts, back in the town, has seen the flare, and hurries to inform Brass Head. He signals a full retreat, but Yen, Fang, Yang Hu Yun and the remaining guards cut Brass Head off and mortally wound him.The rear door to the meeting place is smashed open; Golden Arm has arrived. Brass Head tells Golden Arm that Iron Robe has driven the gold off, but has just sent up a signal flare. Golden Arm says he will go investigate, and then when the time is right, he will avenge Brass Head, killing all of the guard convoy. Brass Head expresses his gratitude for the