Entertaining old-fashioned swordsplay adventure from Shaw Brothers
I confess, I have a soft spot for these old-fashioned Chinese Wu Xia swordplay films, especially when they're happening in the fairy tale -like "martial world". At worse, they're harmless and forgettable, silly little camp packages. At best, they make you wish you were a child again and seeing this for the first time, eyes wide with amazement. GOLDEN SWORD surely fell into the latter category more than the first, taking me back to the time when I was about 10 years old and literally gluttoning all kinds of adventure stories, were they films, books or comics. A damn shame these films weren't around in Finland back then.
I won't go into the details of the story this time, suffice it to say it's quite typical of the genre and includes old themes of loyalty and courage, heroes defying gravity and other natures of law, a bit of intrigue and some subtle comedy, and quite well executed love story. The twists keep you interested enough, and it all has some sweet fairytale mood in it, both visually and story-wise. For some reason this reminded me very much of the Hollywood historical romance spectacles of the Hollywood in the 40's - 50's era, don't know exactly why. Perhaps the feeling came from the heavy use of studio sets and staging of 'outdoor' scenes, which gave the film lots of old-fashioned sweet charm. As a westerner, however, I found one very campy moment in it; there was one scene including dancing and singing that made me wish the time would fly a little faster, and / but luckily the scene was over quite quickly. In the long run, it didn't take the magic away from the film, and somehow also strengthened, in a good way, the 50's mood I just mentioned, since many of those films included these corny musical scenes.
If you're looking for loads of action and detailed fighting choreography, you can forget it: fight scenes are older than old school, more of a swashbuckling lookalikes than monumental opuses of Kung Fu style introductions. For me this wasn't a letdown, I enjoyed the 'lighter' approach, as it fits very well in the general style of the film.
GOLDEN SWORD is definitely a dated Wu Xia movie, but not at all worthless in it's efforts. You can watch this one with quite an empty head, as it does not offer you any mind blowing philosophy, but that's not a bad thing, since it doesn't even try. It has some eerie charm from the world and time already passed that kept me entertained and amused for the film's running length. Recommended for the people who like old adventure films and want to take a quick peek at their childhood.
This is my truth. What is yours?
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