The Blade (1995)Director: Tsui Hark
Starring: Zhao Wen-Zhou, Xiong Xin-Xin, Moses Chan Ho, Sang Ni, Austin Wai Tin-Chi, Valerie Chow Kar-Ling, Michael Tse Tin-Wah, Jason Chu Wing-Tong, Ngai Sing
Tagline: Not to be confused with the Wesley Snipes movie.
Some cruel hunters are causing trouble around town and one monk that stands up to them is brutally killed.
Two workers at the local sword-makers, Iron Head and On want to get revenge, but they are stopped by their boss.
The sword maker's daughter, Ling, for some reason wants to play On and Iron Head against each other to see who will win her hand.
Around this time the annual 'sword devotion' day occurs, where the sword makers swear their allegiance to the broken fragment of a sword that has provided them peace for 20 years.
On suddenly wants to know who his father is and what happened to him. When he is told, he takes the broken sword and goes to get revenge. Ling follows him.
She gets into trouble with the hunters and On goes to rescue her. After a terrible battle, On goes missing and Iron Head takes Ling back to the sword makers.
On comes to in a ramshackle farmhouse and carries on like a pork chop about something. He has been rescued by a simple farmer named Blackhead who lives by herself.
After convalescing for some time, Ling doesn't seem to want to do anything. Iron Head is having none of this and they both go looking for On.
In the first village they come to, there is trouble for both of them and nasty stuff happens.
Around the same time, bandits attack the farmhouse where on is staying and burn/beat him severely. On decides to get revenge by digging up the broken sword he buried and training with the aid of half a sword moves manual Blackhead found in the walls of her house...
An extremely violent, but dramatic swordplay film that seems very realistic given the circumstances. Not a movie for people who are upset by cruelty to animals. I liked the blend of Middle Eastern and Chinese culture. The only thing I didn't like was Ling's motives as they seemed a bit stupid.
This movie is difficult to find, but I would recommend tracking it down if you want to see a different kung fu period drama. It reminded me a lot of the film Burning Paradise in its style and it is just as grim in parts.
The movie also seems a bit low key compared to the director's other work, but they can't be all big flashy films as you have to try something different eventually.
I would also recommend this film if you are a fan of westerns as the story reminded me of some classic western storylines.
Rating : 10/10