Review: The Magic Blade
Rival swordsmen in Imperial China (Ti Lung and Lo Lieh) put aside their differences temporarily to head for the location of the title super-weapon, and keep it from those who wish to do evil with it. Chief among the evildoers is the mysterious Master Yu, who sends a plethora of assassins at our protagonists.
Chances are, if you loved “Big Trouble in Little China” or Gordon Liu’s character from “Kill Bill vol. 2”, then you’ll get much pleasure from this highly entertaining, colourful 1976 Hong Kong offering (with several western influences evident) from the renowned Shaw Brothers and directed by Chu Yuan (whose brother is infamous martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping). It’s certainly never dull. Ha Ping is hilarious as the evil ‘Devil Grandma’ (don’t ask), I also loved the wuxia-flavoured chess game (once again, don’t ask, just see for yourself), and even the opening fight between the two protagonists is exciting stuff. There’s also a fair bit of violence, and hey, even a little brief (and I do mean brief) lesbianism.
It’s not the best in the genre, admittedly. The constant ‘whoosh’ noise on the soundtrack during scenes of leaping and jumping during fights gets a tad stale after a while, and I’m still not sold on the 11th hour twist concerning Yu, let alone the two or three twists that come after that! However, it is a lot of crazy-arse fun and looks fabulous (great, colourful lighting in particular). It comes scripted by Sze To-on and Ni Kuang, the latter being the scribe of the entertaining “Blood Brothers” and the outstanding “Eight Diagram Pole Fighter”.