It opens with "Who are these two guys and why are they sword fighting?" After the opening credits the master of the Patience School explains he has to leave and the student played by Chiang Pin is taking over. The senior student has been missing and thought to have been killed by Dare Devil (in the opening fight). The new leader has a needy girlfriend. He tries to distance himself from her but bullies appear and he must defend her. The bullies then go to their school and claim Chiang Pin bullied them. This continues to escalate with a few deaths added to the mix. The bully of all bullies is the Dare Devil character and he acquires a magic sword.
This movie would only attract the attention of a hard core fanatic of martial arts movies of the golden age from 1967 to 1984. I am such a fan on a mission to watch and review every movie of that era. In the early 1970s this genre was starting to spread all over the world. People, especially in the USA, looked on these movies as something new. In reality, movies in this genre had been copying each other and following the same story lines and fight choreography for decades. A viewer can find an example of everything these movies have been doing for years right here in this movie. Because of that I rate it completely average for the year and genre.
Some examples include: revenge is mandatory, morals are absolute and there are no shades of gray, training overcomes, and sometimes you just have to say "It must be magic" and on with the show.
The fights are of primary concern to us fans. There is a full range here, from crap to gold. A good fight in 1971 (when actors were actors and not martial artists) consisted of six or more exchanges of blows with good power and focus from a wide angle with a smooth cut to the next set of moves without it all looking the same. A bad fight can result from too many things to detail. Need an example? When the fighter is encircled by ten or more other fighters and he waves his sword then they all fly off in every direction - that's a bad fight in any movie.
The "Dare Devil" character really steals this show. If you are entertained by this character you will like the movie. If you think too much and find the character ridiculous you will not like the movie. Most likely you will end up ambivalent.
This movie is the first of a series of three. ("Sorrowful to a Ghost", "The Ghost's Sword" and "Matchless Conqueror") You could call it a trilogy. I found the three connected loosely by the final scenes. I have written reviews for all three.
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