15 user 18 critic

Xiao ao jiang hu (1990)

When a scroll containing valuable martial arts secrets is stolen from the Emperor, an army detachment is sent to recover it. Blademaster, a young martial arts expert, accidentally ends up ... See full summary »


Louis Cha (novel), Ying Wong | 5 more credits »

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4 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Samuel Hui ... Ling Wu Chung
Cecilia Yip ... Kiddo
Jacky Cheung ... Au Yeung
Man Cheung ... Ren Ying Ying (as Sharla Cheung)
Fennie Yuen ... Blue Phoenix (as Fanny Yuen)
Siu-Ming Lau ... Ngok (as Siu Ming Lau)
Wu Ma ... Lau (as Wo Ma)
Ching-Ying Lam ... Kuk (as Ching Ying Lam)
Wah Yuen ... Zhor
Shun Lau ... The Eunuch
Ming Man Cheung Ming Man Cheung ... Luk Ta Yau
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yiu-Sing Cheung Yiu-Sing Cheung
Shan Chin ... Lam Jan Nam
Sing Kwong Lai Sing Kwong Lai
Chi Ming Lau ... (as Chi Ming Liu)


When a scroll containing valuable martial arts secrets is stolen from the Emperor, an army detachment is sent to recover it. Blademaster, a young martial arts expert, accidentally ends up in possession, but the plot grows complex as Japanese samurai, an illegal Chinese sect, a tribe of snake-wielding women warriors, a rival martial arts school and the leader of his own martial arts school vie for the scroll. Romantic complications also ensue, involving him with his longtime chum, daughter of the leader of his school, a Japanese woman, and two of the snake- wielding tribeswomen (Blue Phoenix and their leader, Princess Yin-Yin). Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | History


TV-14 | See all certifications »



Hong Kong | Taiwan


Cantonese | Mandarin

Release Date:

27 January 1990 (Taiwan) See more »

Also Known As:

Swordsman See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


King Hu was credited as the director but he allegedly left the project midway, and the film was completed by a team led by producer Hark Tsui. See more »


Spoofed in Dou hap (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

A classic, nearly as good as Swordsman 2
12 May 2001 | by moribanaSee all my reviews

Since Swordsman 2 is one of my favorites, I was delighted to find part one finally released on DVD. It is nearly as good, even better in some ways.

If you have not seen either, start with this one and get ready to enjoy 4 hours of primo wuxia.

Too bad that the cast completely changed between the 2 films (except for the excellent Fennie Yuen as Blue Phoenix) Most of the players in part one are as good, and I even preferred Cheung Man as Chief Ying to Rosamund Kwan who takes over in part two. I do think Jet Li in 2 is far better than Sam Hui in this one. Jet copies Sam Hui's style and character well, but is far more athletic and intense which really helps the action scenes in part 2. Sam sings well at least, which is important considering how much singing of "Hero of heroes" there is in part one!

A note about the cast list above: Michelle Reis and Rosamund Kwan are NOT in this film. Kiddo is played by Cecilia Yip and Ying by Cheung Man.

A classic pair of films then. Too bad part 3, "The East is Red" was such a letdown. The first two films stand on their own though, so no real loss.

One warning, if you are new to wuxia or Hong Kong films in general you may find the action in these films often too fast and incomprehensible. Repeated viewing will accustom you to the pacing, as well as allowing you to savor all the rich density of the storyline and its numerous characters.

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