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THE NEW ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN (aka TRIPLE IRONS, 1971) follows director Chang
Cheh's earlier one-armed swordsman films (ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN, RETURN OF THE
ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN) but replaces departing star Jimmy Wang Yu with the
director's newer find, David Chiang, who is joined by frequent co-star Ti
Lung. It's a colorful, occasionally moody historical adventure shot on Shaw
Bros.' sprawling Hong Kong backlot and features a climactic battle in which
the titular hero takes on an army of bad guys single-handed.
David plays a swordsman tricked into a duel to defend his honor with a corrupt swordfighting teacher (Ku Feng) who causes him to cut off his own arm. He leaves the `gallant fraternity' and broods in isolation, making a living as a waiter at a roadside tavern. When a wandering swordsman, played by Ti Lung, learns who he is and gives him a pep talk, David is stirred, but refuses to take action. When Ti is killed by the same corrupt teacher, who uses a lethal three-section staff, David is finally spurred to action and, armed with a dead warrior's sword given to him by the tavern owner's sympathetic daughter (Li Ching), he goes after the offending gang of fighters and figures out a 3-sword move designed to beat the 3-section staff. Before he's through, he leaves a trail of corpses littering a massive bridge leading to the gang's fortress.
David Chiang may not have been the best martial artist, but he had a wiry, energetic quality that served him well in this type of slashing and swirling fighting style. He also exuded a brooding intensity that came in handy in his portrayal of the onetime swordsman, who is crippled both physically and psychologically and has turned his back on his calling. Chiang and Ti Lung worked well together in violent tales of male bonding in turbulent eras. The villains here, Ku Feng and Chen Sing, both excelled at playing devious and crafty characters capable of unctuous charm one minute and great cruelty the next.
Famed martial arts director Lau Kar Leung worked on the fight scenes, in which kung fu takes a back seat to swashbuckler-style sword- and weapons play. (Lau was an expert in both styles of fighting.) This was one of a group of costume epics made by Chang Cheh prior to his series of Shaolin-themed martial arts films, dating from 1973-76, which put kung fu in the foreground and were made initially in collaboration with Lau, who broke off in 1975 to direct his own films.
I usually like more realistic action films like Bruce Lee. Not the
latest Die Hard where they break the laws of physics every ten minutes.
And I don't like the current stuff with too much CG and wire-work.
That said, I love this film. Especially in the original Mandarin. Fine production values, two heroes Chiang and Jimmy Wang Yu and a great villain "Hero Lung." A classic movie baddie.
The only possible improvement would be if Bruce Lee had starred. Still, I'll have to say Chian is perfect as a young master swordsman who would rather cut off his own arm than live with dishonor.
I've heard that Jimmy Wang Yu was not a trained martial artist, but a pretty tough guy in real life. Too cute guys.
This is 1 of the best movies I have seen so far!
Its always nice to see david chiang and ti lung playing togheter with eachother !
Like some guy explained before , you can learn from this movie , because although you have a handicap you can still be improving your skillz.
This story is well made , like mentioned before a guy Lei Li losing his arm to a corrupt "held" Lung. After being retired for a year a brother Feng come to his place where he acts like a bartender. While he was demolished by some people from the Tiger Fort , Feng teached Lei Li to appreciate himself again. Then one day Feng is losing his battle in the Tiger Fort against Lung , Lung used the same trick he used to do to Lei Li to with his sticks. After that Lei Li sworn revenge and the ending is amazing ! He defeats a whole squad of fighters from the Tiger Fort! And once again he meets Lung , the man that made him retire for a year. A very nice battle at the end !
Anyway just watch the movie then you know what I mean ! :-)
There are many metaphors in this movie, but the one, I think, is the most important is that; Once you have accepted your lot in life you can improve yourself beyond your own expectations. The story is straight forward, good guys versus bad guys, and some of the stunts are really unbelievable. But, overall I recommend this movie just because it is a great story.
Lavish costume spectacle about a brooding, self-mutilated warrior who reluctantly returns to his calling when his brother is murdered by an evil baron. The scene of the baron killing the brother is ghastly. What makes this movie, besides some cute stuff with the one-armed swordsman flipping eggs and whatnot, is the finale where he single handedly (pun intended) takes on about 500 castle guards to got to the baron. Clearly, this sequence influenced KILL BILL. I have no idea how they filmed the sequence, but it is magnificent. There was a short-lived period when these lavish costume dramas, using swords more than fists, were all the rage. I much preferred them to the typical slug-it-out kung fu malarkey of earlier Shaw Brothers efforts.
I can't remember the details behind the reason why Wang Yu left the
franchise, but Chang Cheh replaced him with David Chiang in the titular
role, and of course it's a totally new character, having his own
motivations and background, as compared to Yu's Fang Gang.
Written by Ni Kuang (author of HK's popular Wesley science fiction series), the new one- armed swordsman is now Lei Li (Chiang), an arrogant young swordsman whose specialty is his "yuan-yang" double swords. A hotheaded, up and coming hero, a diabolical plot was hatched by Lung I Ching, a veteran swordsman in the martial arts world, to keep these young upstarts at bay. With his three-joint-poles, which always seem to defy gravity, he schemes and manages to duel with Lei Li, defeating him and caused Li's arm to be chopped off.
Herein lies the difference between this One Armed Swordsman, and the original Fang Gang. Fang Gang had lost his arm because someone else hacked it off in a fit of rage. Here, Lei Li actually gambled with his arm - the loser of the duel would have to remove it, and retire from "society". While Fang Gang had to learn his martial arts all over again, Lei Li was already skilled with his left hand, because he was originally ambidextrous. Also, Fang Gang's weapon of choice is his father's iconic broken sword, Lei Li doesn't seem to have any preference, and could fight with any.
While there is a token romance with the daughter of a village blacksmith, the introduction of a special sword didn't seem to auger well, and it didn't last - it lacked something special, be it emotions or prowess, and seemed too generic. Anyway, I can't help but to chuckle at Ti Lung's character Feng Chun-Chieh, also a young upcoming swordsman who uses two swords. Chun-Chieh and Lei Li formed a sense of brotherhood when the former protected the latter from bullies, only because the latter doesn't wish to use his martial arts skills anymore. They become fast friends, but from the way their scenes were shot - the numerous hugs, back-slapping, arm holding, eyes longing, you might be expecting one of them to say that if only he knew how to quit the other.
That aside, you'd come to expect the usual ketchup blood laden violence which have become the hallmarks of Chang Cheh's swordfighting movies. Here, it doesn't get any less bloody, and scenes can be quite graphic with the numerous decapitations of limbs, and one really interesting decapitation of half a human body, across the waist.
There are plenty of set action pieces, like that iconic fight on the bridge with many footsoldiers simultaneously. Scenes like these are what Tarantino adopted in his homage Kill Bill double feature, where the hero goes on an unstoppable roaring rampage. Though I must admit the introductory fights don't contribute much to the plot - just there for the sake of showing off what Lei Li can achieve.
All in all, it's great fun, just to watch what our parents were watching as they grew up, and comparing these films to the standards of today. While cheesy, the good old classics stand out for their groundbreaking effort in those days, to bring us what has evolved till now.
Code 3 DVD contains minimal extras, just one trailer, a photo gallery, the original poster, one general paragraph passing off as production notes, a biography and selected filmography of the cast and crew.
Chang Cheh had already directed an iconic "One-Armed Swordsman" (Jimmy
Wang Yu) a few years earlier but for reasons unknown to me decided to
'reboot' with "The New One-Armed Swordsman", featuring David Chiang as
the protagonist. Unlike stern and stoned-faced Wang Yu, Chiang plays
the ever-jolly, jovial Lei Li, a very skilled traveling swordsman who
is forced to cut his own right arm off after loosing a fight with
villainous mastermind Lung I-Chih (Feng Ku), leader of the "Tiger
Gang". Li retires from being a fighter and resigns himself to becoming
an aid at a local restaurant, constantly subjected to the mockery of
the patrons. When fellow traveling swordsman Feng Chun-Chieh (Lung Ti)
rides into town, he and Li bond almost immediately but Feng likewise
looses a battle with I-Chih and is killed in the process. Li swear
vengeance and goes up against I-Chih, his supposedly unbeatable weapon,
an interlinked, triple-iron staff (a weapon that "can only be bested by
three swords") and his army of goons.
"The New One-Armed Swordsman" was one of the first Hong Kong films to become a hit in (West)-Germany (under the title "Das Schwert des gelben Tigers" or "The Sword of the yellow Tiger"), sparking a wave similar-minded films to flood the market. Indeed, during the early 1980s you'd have been hard-pressed to pass a cinema that was not showing at least one Kung Fu flick or a video store that wasn't stacked.
Especially David Chiang does an amazing job, being very charismatic, at the same time makes the viewer believe that he could pull it off and decimate a legion of fighters with only one arm. Like in many other movies that feature this duo, Chiang and Lung Ti have a very good chemistry, something like the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis of martial arts movie. Perhaps even too good a chemistry: As some may have pointed out, the constant gazing at each other and assuring themselves of their friendship, at times reminds one of "Brokeback Mountain" (and relegates the supposed love-interest, the cute-as-a-button Ching Lee to a mere sister-figure). Feng Ku is a reliable baddie and is well versed in changing from an almost fatherly figure to a menacing fighting machine within an instant.
The special-effects are bloody but may seem a little dated, especially in times where most martial-arts-movies are saturated with CGI and actors flying around on wires. But for those interested in honest, hard-working Kung Fu and sword fights, there can be few better recommendations than "The New One-Armed Swordsman".
As a beginning martial artist at the time I saw this film,I was amazed at how realistic the fight scenes were.This man could handle a sword and to this day I wonder how they made it look so real.
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