This is another gangster film like the just reviewed A Most Violent Year where there isn't all the action of the traditional entry in the genre. If Goodfellas is Saving Private Ryan, then Black Souls is more in the vein of The Thin Red Line, not the same caliber as that film but you get my drift.
This is much more of a character study of the players involved. The eldest of a trio of brothers has spent decades tending to his farm and staying out of the family business, which is for the most part unnamed shady stuff. But when his son goes to visit his goon of a brother with intentions of joining the dark side, a sequence of events fall in place resulting in a finish that I don't think anyone can see coming.
Not a lot happens in the first 2/3s of Black Souls in an action sense, and if I was in the wrong mood I might not have liked this as much as I did. But I thought the conflict between the four chief characters (the dad, his two gangster brothers, and his son) was established very convincingly. Come with patience to this one and you will be well rewarded. One of the scenes near the finish is simply magnificent.
Doesn't get much better than this for a movie fan like me. Total spectacle, a gazillion montages to 80s and 90s pop culture, Spielberg laying the mack hand down in a major way. Cline's novel gets the best treatment possible and the result is a win for everyone tuned in.
Chang Cheh establishes the classic kung fu plot trope where two strangers riding for the same side are tricked into fighting each other. While not a knockout, its a solid effort for Cheh who gets great efforts from his two leads Kuan Tai Chen and Sheng Fu.