RETURN OF THE ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN (1968) is a direct sequel to ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN (1967), a seminal Hong Kong martial arts film that, unlike earlier swordplay films with Wang Yu (e.g. TWIN SWORDS, MAGNIFICENT TRIO), placed the emphasis on technique and training in order to defeat a superior enemy.
Also directed by Chang Cheh and starring Jimmy Wang Yu, RETURN dispenses with the whole training routine and focuses on a turn of events designed to get the title character out of voluntary retirement and back into action for a series of swordplay battles. A martial arts tournament is set up by Unknown Nemesis (Tien Feng) as a pretext to lure rival martial artists into a trap. Word of this treachery reaches Wang Yu and he reluctantly leaves his farm and wife (Chiao Chiao, returning from the first film) to free the imprisoned swordsmen and wreak vengeance on Unknown Nemesis. After the first half-hour the film is virtually nonstop bloodshed and swordplay, all beautifully photographed on lavish Shaw Bros. studio sets.
Future kung fu star Ti Lung appears as an ill-fated fighter in an early scene with crafty villainess Essie Lin Chia. The fight choreography is by Tang Chia and Liu Chia Liang (Lau Kar Leung), who would both have a great impact on the kung fu films of the 1970s. While Wang Yu went on to star in ONE-ARMED BOXER, he never again played a one-armed fighter in a Shaw Bros. film. When Wang Yu left Shaw Bros., Chang Cheh made THE NEW ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN (aka TRIPLE IRONS, 1971) with David Chiang in the title role and Ti Lung in support.
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