At the end of his time at Union Film Company, King Hu began work on the final entry of his ‘tavern trilogy’, The Fate of Lee Khan. Set in the Yuan dynasty, a group of mostly female patriots conspire to steal back a rebel map from a Mongol warlord and assassinate him. At the same time, he opened his own production company and was working back-to-back with another film called The Valiant Ones.
Both films exhibited King Hu’s ability to blend genre elements so seamlessly, as at the time many other filmmakers were drifting away from wuxia to focus more on the kung fu genre. This film also demonstrated Hu’s usage of strong female leads, having cast well known actresses as most of the lead heroes and one villain. Combining comedy with drama and intense action sequences, The Fate of Lee Khan is the peak of King Hu’s directorial career.