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An evil gang attacks the Chi school of Golden Sword Kung Fu. One student sacrifices his life to save his teacher and his school, his dying wish is that his son be taken in as a student. Young Fang Kang grows up in the school and treasures his father's broken sword and the memory of his father's sacrifice. The other students (including the teacher's daughter) resent him and try to drive him away. The teacher's daughter challenges him to a fight and when he refuses she becomes enraged and recklessly chops off his arm! He retreats, broken and bloody, and is found by a young poor girl living alone who nurses him back to health. Meanwhile, the evil gang who originally attacked the Golden Sword school develops a weapon that renders the Golden Sword useless and starts killing off all of the schools students. Fang Kang eventually recovers with the girl's help but must now face a life with only one arm. Will he be able to recover and live to defend the school as his father did? Written by
Fred Cabral <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wow, if only all Asian martial arts movies were this good, the genre would sure get a lot more respect in the West. All too often, the movies I've found at video stores are the horribly dubbed and occasionally quite stupid martial arts films--you know, the ones where the action is so fake that they films are better for their laugh value than for their excitement! However, there are several amazing films (this one included) who set high standards for the genre, such as many of the films of Sonny Chiba, the Bruce Lee films (few as they are) and the Zatoichi series. Remember folks, not all martial arts films are created equal!!
While I could harp on a few flaws that are noticeable in the film (such as the scene at midnight that goes from day to night like an Ed Wood film), the perfection of most of the film greatly outweighs the few mistakes--plus for the time it was made, it was about as good as you can find. And while I am very, very hesitant to give scores of 10, this one deserves it because it is the epitome of a great Chinese martial arts film.
There are two main reasons to love this film. First, being the premier episode of the One Armed Swordsman series, there is much more to the movie than a "boss battle". Instead, you learn the devious and complicated reason for Fang Gang losing his arm as well as the steps he took to learn to fight left-handed. Second, and probably more importantly, you see the best sword fighting and martial arts action...period. Gone are the obvious misses as they pull their swings, gone is the grunting and silly dialog (provided you watch it with the optional Chinese language and English subtitles) and there is plenty of realistic looking blood--though not so much to make it a disgusting or gratuitous movie.
If you like this film (and only an idiot wouldn't), then try watching the other films in the series. Also try the films of the others I mentioned above. Not every Kung Fu or Karate movie involves (uggh!) martial arts fighting gorillas, men with arms that grow to 12 feet in length and the other silly touches you see in lesser films. Now I still watch and enjoy these other films (when I need a laugh), but they just can't come close to class products like this one.
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