ZEN OF SWORD wire work and women warriors in old China
ZEN OF SWORD (1992) is a low-budget `wire fu' Hong Kong costume adventure that benefits from extensive location work and some imaginative fight scenes directed by the great Philip Kwok. The plot has to do with a pair of officers escorting a fugitive princess through enemy territory and the developing romance between the princess and an exiled enemy prince. It's got an above-average cast of kung fu performers, including Cynthia Khan (IN THE LINE OF DUTY III) as the Princess' military escort; Kara Hui Ying Hung (MY YOUNG AUNTIE) as the vengeful head of an exiled sect; and Kwok himself (Kuo Chui of Five Venoms fame) as a character dubbed `the God of War.'
The film is a mix of swordplay and romance, with the balance shifting too often to the latter. While the romance is handled gently and tenderly, it's just not compelling enough to keep us very interested during the long stretches between fight scenes. The two young romantic leads, Michelle Reis (WICKED CITY, SWORDSMAN II) and Lau Sik Ming, are attractive and watchable, but don't have much chemistry and aren't allowed to strike any sparks.
While they're often very creative, the fight scenes don't include much in the way of actual kung fu, concentrating instead on the then-fashionable wire-assisted flying leaps and stunts. With Cynthia Khan and Kara Hui Ying Hung as fierce opponents, an actual hand-to-hand kung fu bout between these two fighting femmes would have been eagerly savored by HK buffs. Philip Kwok appears mid-way and, while he sides with the heroes and has one good fight scene involving the propulsion of giant logs by hand through a forest, he doesn't get to do much more. Also in the cast are Waise Lee (BULLET IN THE HEAD) and perennial villain Lau Shun (DRAGON INN). The movie has its moments, but it suffers in comparison to more energetic wire-fu epics of the period, such as SWORDSMAN II, DRAGON INN, BUTTERFLY AND SWORD, and THE EAST IS RED.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?