Posted on July 9th, 2009 in Brick Prior, Movies, SHAW-A-DAY-A-THON by Brick Prior

Absolute power corrupts absolutely… unless you’re a sword-wielding badass!

THE OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

“Two rival swordsmen in imperial China, poncho-clad Fu Hung-Hsueh (Ti Lung, Drunken Master II, A Better Tomorrow) and Yen nan-Fei (Lo Leigh, 5 Fingers of Death, 36th Chamber of Shaolin) vie with a power-hungry villain for the deadly Peacock Dart and fend off waves of expert killers during their journey.

Featuring non-stop action, astonishing touches of fantasy and an eye-popping climactic showdown on the villain’s island lair, this remains one of kung-fu cinema’s most staggering achievements! “

THE TRAILER

 

 

THIS IS WHAT I THOUGHT HAPPENED SINCE I HAD TO READ SUBTITLES AND WATCH ACTION AT THE SAME TIME, HAR HAR HAR

Any movie with a assassin named “Devil Grandma” automatically gets five stars in my book.

Where to begin?!

Well, for starters, this film is in the “wuxia” genre- meaning, lots of swords and sorcery and fantasy shenanigans- for the best comparison, think “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” without all the melodrama.  That’s not to say that there isn’t any melodrama in this; there is, but it’s just a tad bit more organic than what was in the aforementioned “TNT New Classic” from 2000.

How does this one go down, you ask?

I’ll try to tell you!

Fu Hung-hsueh and Yen Nan-fe have fought before.  On the one year anniversary of their last fight, Fu crashes Yen’s party in order to finish the job- but before the killing can begin, the two are ambushed by other assassins.  Their goal- to kill Yen Nan-fe!  Fu isn’t hearing any of that, though, and the two rivals have to team up in order to survive.  This involve killing lots of people, avoiding lots of explosions, and generally being badasses.  Fu is equipped with a rotating sword- kinda like a spinning bladed tonfa that makes a neat WHHHHRRRRRRRR sound whenever he’s ready to cut into someone’s flesh. Yen just has a sword, but he’s played by Lo Lieh (Pai Mei in “Clan of the White Lotus”, and the star of “King Boxer”… which is tomorrow’s film), which means that he’s a badass.  The two find out that Master Yu has sent his five henchmen after them, among them being Devil Grandma, a creepy blood-loving lady with a cart full of deadly weapons.  They battle their way through assassins, fighting some of them on a life-sized chessboard replica at that, and in ensuing mayhem, Yen Nan-fe is killed.  It’s up to Fu Hung-hsueh to survive and cement his status as the number one swordsman in all of the land, and oh man, does he ever!

You see, legend has it about an ultimate weapon known as the Peacock Dart.  Said weapon can destroy anything in it’s path via an explosion, and Fu knows where it is.  After feigning paralysis (“It’s taken me twenty years to train my sinuses not to be affected by that poison,” he said after killing someone who thought he was down for the count), he obtains the Peacock Dart and starts to make his way to Master Yu.  He battles his way through more assassins, and makes his way towards Master Wu.  The kicker?  He’s gotta give up the Peacock Dart before he can get out of there.  There’s something about a lady, but since this is AbG, I am skipping over that- FOLKS CARES ABOUT THA FIGHTINS ROUND HERE!  Anyway, Fu does so, and he’s trapped against the rest of Wu’s assassins!

OH MY GOD WHAT WILL HAPPEN?!

It’s very simple, actually- Fu kills them all.  Brutally.  One tries to hide behind a wooden partition only for Fu to cut it and her in half.  He shows no mercy.  He kills everything.  It is awesome.

Eventually, Wu finally shows his face… and Fu’s got him dead bang.  Why?  Because it’s not Wu, it’s actually Yen Nan-fe!  SEVENTIES KUNG FU SWERVE! Yen explains that he’s been Wu’s right hand man all along, and the two rivals finally fight for real.  It’s an insane battle, and after Fu gets the upperhand, Yen denies him the satisfaction of beating him outright by killing himself.

The end, right?

SIKE.

It’s explained to Fu that Master Wu never existed- it’s just a title to represent a swordsman’s absolute power, wealth, and money.  Fu turns his back on such things and prepares to leave- but wait!  A voice beckons him to stay!  The wall explodes!  IT’S THE REAL MASTER WU!

The old master explains that he’s far to old to do what he used to be able to (i.e., kill 78 swordsmen in one night is one of his major claims to fame) and that he needs someone to be able to spread his legend for him.  Fu wants no part of it, so they fight.  With his weighted staff, the old master gets the upperhand on Fu, but the younger swordsman makes a push to even things up… until Wu beats him down and drops a cage separating the two.  Wu explains that the cage will keep Fu from killing him, and there’s nothing that he can do about it… and as he climbs into his throne and is about to be raised to safety, Fu tosses his sword through the bars and kills Wu just like that.

The hired help tries to get Wu to stay, offering him riches and fame should he take up the mantle of Greatest Swordsman Ever… and to paraphrase his answer:

“Save that for the people who are willing to die.”

EPIC.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS ONE

Nine days in, and I think I’ve seen the best movie yet.  The Magic Blade combines every single martial arts sub-genre and makes it its’ own- it helps that it was based on a classic Chinese novel, but still- it fires on all cylinders and is engaging from beginning to end.  Prior to this marathon, I’d only seen Ti Lung in the “A Better Tomorrow” series, “Fong Sai Yuk”, and “Drunken Master 2”, so to see him on screen some 20 years before those classics is amazing.  He had a tour-de-force role in “The Heroic Ones” (he’s the dead dude in the picture), and he is a complete badass in this movie.  I know he’s going to show up a few more times before this month is done, but wow… it’s gonna be hard to top these two performances.

Lo Lieh is also a beast, but that’s because he’s Lo Lieh.  More on him tomorrow.

In short:  films like The Magic Blade make me wish I could invite all of you to my house to watch it and have fun.

It’s a must see.

And now, some pictures!

DEVIL GRANDMA

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HUMAN CHESS

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THE PEACOCK

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YOU BIG DUMMY

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WHO LOWERED THE CAGE?!

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TOMORROW

King Boxer!  This is where The Bride got her musical stinger from!