Hong Kong cinema giants Derek Yee and Tsui Hark join forces in this 3D martial arts epic, about an elite swordsman who is haunted by his skill, and a challenger who aims to take his place at all costs.
During the 16th century, Japanese pirates proliferate along the Chinese coastline. In 1557, the pirates take over Cengang in Zhejiang. After months of futile advances, Commander Yu (Sammo ... See full summary »
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung,
In the Ming dynasty of China, Shen Lian (starring Chang Chen), a secret police of corrupt government, is trapped by the conspiracy on a mission. To prove the innocence, he seeks the truth with a girl called Bei Zhai (starring Yang Mi).
Set three years after Dragon Inn, innkeeper Jade has disappeared and a new inn has risen from the ashes - one that's staffed by marauders masquerading as law-abiding citizens, who hope to unearth the fabled lost city buried in the desert.
Su Qi-Er retired from his life as a renowned Qing dynasty general in order to pursue his dream of a family and his own martial arts school. However, Su's peaceful life is shattered when his... See full summary »
Hong Kong cinema giants Derek Yee (TRIPLE TAP) and Tsui Hark (YOUNG DETECTIVE DEE) join forces in this spellbinding martial arts epic about an elite swordsman who is haunted by his deadly skills, and the challenger who aims to take his place at any cost.
Wu xia revival flick with many strengths but some obvious flaws
Sword Master is a typical example for the new wave of wu xia cinema. The costumes are colourful, the landscapes are breathtaking and the fight sequences are quite spectacular on the positive side. On the negative side, the special effects are exaggerated and overused, the story is developed in a confusing way with numerous flashbacks to hide the fact that the scenario is rather ordinary and the movie doesn't have the magic pioneer vibe of the original version called Death Duel in particular and the first wave of wu xia movies in general.
There are three elements that make Sword Master stand out and put it on a slightly above average level if compared to other contemporary wu xia flicks. The first twenty minutes of the movie are quite entertaining and feature interesting character developments, ferocious fights and stunning settings. The movie then quickly becomes exchangeable, predictable and shallow but its first impression is very positive. As a second element, the acting performances are rather positive even though they aren't outstanding or even moving. The different characters are credible and the actors and actresses rarely overact. Aside of one silly character who only has a minor role, the movie also avoids adding silly slapstick elements that wouldn't fit in. Finally, the movie has a great soundtrack that unites traditional folk instruments, classical music and a few modern sounds in a highly diversified and always appropriate way. The soundtrack manages to add more emotions to the different key scenes of this film.
Fans of traditional Chinese action cinema will surely be entertained by this movie even though it can't compete with the best genre flicks of the seventies and eighties. Those who aren't familiar with the wu xia genre should not start with this film though and discover the original films first. I was entertained very well and would watch this movie again in a few years.
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