The film opens with the execution of Master Fan who refuses to sign a declaration of Tan Tao Liang's evil Eunuch character. Upon learning of her master Fan's death, Ah Larn (Polly Kuan) is entrusted with his son ,Shou Hau and is instructed to take him to a secret island where an old ally of Fan's awaits.
Ah Larn and Shou Hau set off for the island but are tracked down by Tan Tao's men almost immediately. Polly Kuan loses an eye and an arm in the battle and also ends up separating from little Shou Hau who drifts off downstream and out of sight...
Contemplating suicide - Ah Larn is saved by Alan Lau's mysterious one-armed character, who then teaches Polly who to fight with this handicap. With her skills but up to par again, Ah Larn sets off to find Shou Hau...but the Emperor's men are tracking her all the way.
Heroine Of Tribulation is mainly notable for the novelty of having Tan Tao Liang play a fox which he does with great flair and menace. However he is only really seen in the last 15 minutes of the film and although he is certainly a devastating opponent, viewers are left aching to see more of his character - I felt he was a little too under used for my liking.
I quite liked the 4 foxes that worked as Tan Tao's sidekicks the Tiger, Leopard, Serpent and Hawk - again I would have liked to have seen more of these guys especially the Serpent. (and for all Lung Fei fans - he plays the Tiger who wears a convincing disguise on later on in the film).
There are a couple of bumbling, comic relief characters who latch onto Polly Kuan halfway through the film but they aren't too annoying and even prove to be quite useful.
Polly Kuan does a good job in her role but doesn't appear to be as charismatic as her usual self. It was quite cool to see her one armed swordsmanship though.
I thought that the film beared a striking similarity in plot and structure to Evil Karate - though with the main leads reversed e.g. whereas the little girl was entrusted to the male lead in Evil Karate - Polly Kuan has to protect the young boy in this film.
Polly Kuan's character also reminded me of the 1974 Swedish film 'Thriller/They Call Her One Eye' which also features a woman donning an eye patch and heading out for revenge after being disfigured.
The middle section of the film is plagued by some risible and frequent Canto-Pop which may be off putting to some viewers but this is dispensed with after about the 40 minute mark and from there on it's pretty solid all the way.
I'm definitely glad to have seen this film as a Polly Kuan fan. Without FLK I doubt I'd have ever been able to. Even though it lacks any really memorable fight scenes ,I'd still strongly urge any Polly Kuan, Tan Tao Liang or Fox fans to check this one out and I feel it is a film that will be even more rewarding upon further viewings.