Unfortunately the second part of King Hu’s last film with Union Films stood up to my expectations. The first half of the film focused on the painter and was very clear, but unfortunately as King Hu was padding the run time he lost a sense of direction.
The beginning half of part 2 continues exactly where we left of in the bamboo forest and sets up for an amazing tactical planning and ambush, but after Gu leaves to find Yang at the monastery, he finds his child. This was a possible ending that would have been perfect, but King Hu added another set of villians, in which Gu was only minimally involved in.
It appears as though these could have been two separate movies, and starring different protagonists. The action choreography was amazing to give it credit, but the storytelling may have needed more time for this film to mature and flow smoothly. Although there are flaws in the storytelling, I would recommend this film to other viewers, due to the engaging action and the likable protagonists.