After an undisputed reign at the peak of Hong Kong's film industry in the 1960's, Shaw Brothers (the studio founded by real-life brothers Run Run and Runme Shaw) found their dominance challenged by up-and-coming rivals in the early 1970's.
Heroes of the East (1978) Ho Tao (Chia-Hui Liu) marries a Japanese girl, Yumiko (Yuka Mizuno), in a marriage arranged by his father, a merchant based in Japan, who wishes to cement his business relations with the girl's father, Kar Tin. Ho Tao is a scholar and a martial artist who practices Chinese martial arts. Ho Tao knew Yumiko in his youth in Japan, but after he was sent back to China for further studies, he forgot about her until his father brought her to China to arrange their marriage. Ho's neighbors think he beats his wife, making her cry out every morning. Ho is surprised by the rumors and one morning, he wakes up early and follows her. He finds her practicing karate and judo and realizes that the cries she makes as she practices are what the neighbors have heard. Ho wants his wife to practice Chinese kung fu instead of Japanese martial arts, but she refuses, leading to constant arguments between the couple. One day, Yumiko discovers a martial arts practiceroom filled with Chinese weapons. She places all her martial arts instruments in the room and puts aside her husband's weapons. When Ho returns home and sees what his wife has done, he is furious and challenges her to a martial arts competition, Japanese-style versus Chinese-style. After their battle, Yumiko returns to Japan, making Ho's father annoyed and her own father angry. At home in Japan, she practices her Japanese martial arts with a handsome Japanese martial artist, Takeno. Ho's father returns to China to scold his son and insists that he bring Yumiko back to China. Ho's servant advises him that Yumiko may return if he writes her a letter, challenging her to another martial arts competition. However, this letter arouses the national feeling of the Japan Martial Arts Association and it sends a representative of each of the Japanese fighting styles, kendo, karate, judo, etc., to China to take part in the challenge and defend the perceived slight on Japan's martial arts tradition. Ho Tao takes up the mantle of Chinese martial arts and goes up against each of the Japanese fighters, showing his skill and bravery in a series of one-on-one fights.
Dirty Ho (1979) Ho Jen (Yue Wong), a chivalrous robber, likes to squander money on female entertainers. But, one night, he discovers that Wang Tsun Hsin (Chia-Hui Liu), a millionaire, has monopolized all the girls. Under these circumstances, the two men meet. Wang takes a liking to Ho, but knowing he is a robber of licentious character, he tries to make him turn over a new leaf by helping him avoid arrest on several occasions. Ho being so obstinate, Wang decides to teach him a lesson. He deliberately plans on getting Ho wounded. Once wounded, Ho discovers that no doctor can cure him, so he finally turns to Wang for help. In exchange for curing his wound, Wang wants him to be his apprentice and for Ho to follow him wherever he goes. Though unwilling to submit, Ho has no choice. Emperor Kangxi has fourteen sons and one of them is to be chosen as his successor. Wang Tsun Hsin happens to be his 11th son. The 4th son, however, wants to succeed to the throne and, knowing Wang is in Guangdong, specially makes General Liang (Lieh Lo) responsible for getting rid of Wang. Knowing Wang's keen personal interest in wine and Chinese art, they use this knowledge to try on many occasions to have him killed. But Wang is such a well-skilled martial artist that he outsmarts them. Unfortunately, at one point he is wounded in the leg, and Ho helps him escape. Understanding later that Wang is actually the 11th son of Emperor Kangxi, and a skilful martial artist, Ho willingly accepts him as master and learns from him the technique of martial art expertise. A big reward is offered to anyone who gets rid of Wang, and his whereabouts is known since people know of Ho. They, therefore, leave their hideout and head for the capital city. On the way, as expected, they are ambushed by General Liang's men, which they narrowly escape. When they arrive at the city, they are again hindered by General Liang and his men. Finally, they succeed in foiling the plans of the 4th son.