In a few ways, Executioners from Shaolin is a notable departure from Lau Kar-leung's first two films. Because the film deals with the Shaolin temple myth, martial arts are presented less as a theoretical exercise and more as life-and-death. The heightened emphasis on bloody vengeance, tempered with humour and a major female character, gives the feel of a fusion between Chang Cheh's style and Lau's own.
Again, there's an interesting structure. Gordon Liu and Wong Yu are the heroes of the opening and closing sections repectively, while Chen Kuan-tai handles the bulk of the film in between. For his part, Lo Lieh is barely recognisable but good value as the notorious Shaolin villain Bak Mei.
With its more expansive feel, higher stakes and more outdoor photography Executioners from Shaolin is a step up in Lau's work. His magnum opus is just a year away.