Sons of Good Earth is King Hu's film, recognized by him as his "first" production, released in 1965. Though it may come off as a nearly-cheesy wuxia-style film at first glance, it is serves as a critique against Japanese imperialism in the second World War. It has its comedic moments, but it also knows when to lay on the various critiques of society during that time and also dramatic and sad moments as well.
Though the story got surprisingly dark during the latter half of the film, I think I enjoyed the characters and their interactions the most out of all elements of the film. The story was well-written, but the character interactions and personifications made the film into what it was, in my opinion. The almost hilarious interactions between the community and those who owned the illegal operations, the almost slapstick-like relationship between the main protagonist and his roommate/friend… all of it culminated into the film as we know it. For a film with such a dark theme, the contrast with the sometimes hilarious, yet memorable moments really made the film stand out from many other wuxia and fighting-oriented films.
The really quick shot changes and camera angles also added a lot to the pacing of the film, as the longer, calmer sequences had longer shots and wider angles, whereas the fast-paced fight sequences were generally tight in terms of angles and switched between angles a lot quicker (with a few of them being only parts of a second long), showing a large depth of knowledge of how cinematography works. The fight scenes were especially good, as the props were exceptionally realistic and the action was always interesting in one way or another. Though there was not a lot of wuxia-style action as one may expect in terms of hand-to-hand combat, the gunfights were surprisingly good and kept my attention to a surprising extent. Altogether, it was really well-done and could probably stand up to some of the fight scenes present in modern-day cinema.
In any case, though, if anyone is a fan of wartime films or Asian/Chinese historical fiction, this is a highly recommended film and worth a watch.