View Full Version : :: Seven Swords ::

09-01-2005, 11:27 AM

HONG KONG (Hollywood Reporter) - The parade of Chinese martial arts and swords epics continues with the release of Tsui Hark's comeback venture, "Seven Swords."

Unfortunately, the Hong Kong director's work -- so breathtaking and influential in such late-1980s classics as "Once Upon a Time in China," "A Chinese Ghost Story" and "Peking Opera Blues" -- now seems ordinary with this bloated Ching Dynasty actioner.

"Seven Swords" -- set to screen next month at the Toronto International Film Festival -- badly lacks the spark and flourish of past works. For pure wuxia spectacle, there is one classic fight sequence squeezing two wall-scaling swordsmen between a narrow corridor passage. Otherwise, the movie is long and labored. Worse, it thinks it is deeper and more meaningful than it is. Genre fans might enjoy Tsui's whiplash editing, but he doesn't have Zhang Yimou's visual depth or breadth.

Set in the dusty, bleak terrain in West China, the 17th century story has more in common with gunslinging Westerns than silk-and-sword, Imperial court intrigues. A group of murderous bandits is empowered by the emperor (the same ruthless historical ruler as "Hero") to rid the country of rebellious martial-arts practitioners. This edict is used by the bad guys as an excuse to collect as many heads as possible -- including civilians, women and children -- for maximum bounty.

Realizing that a small, innocent village is in the path of these black-clad goth marauders, a group of righteous kung fu champions leaves its snow-capped mountain retreat -- not unlike the camp the new Batman visited -- to save the peasants. Five are disciples of a sword-making master, and two are villagers who are given special blades.

Basically, it is "Seven Samurai" and "The Magnificent Seven" revisited, though Tsui draws directly from the classic wuxia novel "Seven Swordsmen From Mountain Tian." The period piece is mythic in scope but ultimately pulp in essence.

Instead of reveling in a simple story line about Taoist heroes and greedy nasties, Tsui weighs down the picture with cumbersome philosophic themes and overwrought love triangles. Tsui might be a cinema genius -- he did single-handedly craft the continuity-defying cutting in Hong Kong action films -- but he can't steer a narrative in a straight line. He also mistakes brooding characters for deep thoughts.

Even from a popcorn perspective, Tsui misses the mark. The most eye-catching villain is knocked off barely midway through. What's left is a story that gets pulled all over the place. There's a Korean concubine, who is the obsession of the marauding lord; a village girl and her wavering romance with one swordsman; a former executioner-turned-hero; a hidden traitor in the midst; and too many nondescript events that get melodramatic play even though they have little bearing.

Wasted is a potentially star-making turn by Donnie Yen (last seen in "Hero"), who always combines a stoic charisma with ass-kicking kung fu skills. Also, legendary Shaw Brothers-era kung fu artist Lau Kar-leung gets short shrift as the sword group's leader. By the final reel, it becomes clear that the climatic battle is little more a mawkish fight about a girl rather than a monumental struggle for justice in the middle kingdom.


Beijing Ciwen Film & TV Production, Boram Entertainment, and City Glory Pictures present a Film Workshop Co. Ltd. production.

Cast: Chu Zaonan: Donnie Yen; Wu Yuanyin: Charlie Young; Fu Qinzhu: Lau Kar-leung; Yang Yunchong: Leon Lai-ming; Fire-wind: Sun Hong-lei; Green Pearl: Kim So-yuen; Liu Yufang: Zhang Jingchsu; Mulang: Duncan Chow; Xin Longzi: Tai Li-wu.

Director: Tsui Hark; Screenwriters: Chun Tin-lam, Cheung Chi-sing, Tsui Hark; Producers: Tsui Hark, Lee Joo-ick, Ma Zhong-jun, Pan Zhizhong; Executive producers: Raymond Wong, Hong Bong-chul, Zhang Yong; Based on the novel by: Liang Yusheng; Director of photography: Keung Kwok-man; Art director: Eddie Wong; Action director: Lau Kar-leung; Action choreographers: Stephen Tung Wai, Xiong Xin-xin; Music: Kenji Kawai; Costumes: Poon Wing-yan; Image designer: Shirley Chan; Editor: Angie Lam.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Looks good don't it???

I can't hardly wait , Lau Kar Leung and Donnie Yen together, must be great!!!

09-02-2005, 02:20 AM
8O hard to believe that movie sucked
tsui hark is such a good producer
and the cast is tyte
whats up with that
:(W critics

good looking out


09-02-2005, 06:39 AM
Don't mind them critics, unbelievable how someone can concider Donnie Yen a waste if talent LMAO.....

09-02-2005, 01:02 PM
donnie yen is sooo under rated man
the guys has skill
and i heard from soo much chinese ppl that hes the only guy to beat jet li
in a fight (coz they sparred or something back then)

im gonna check this movie out for sure

did u see it already???


09-02-2005, 04:35 PM
Don't get me wrong I think the movie looks dope, good cast n all that, but it's funny how you post a horrible review for the film then say "Looks good don't it?" ... LoL... It's almost like your being sarcastic.

09-03-2005, 07:27 AM
Don't get me wrong I think the movie looks dope, good cast n all that, but it's funny how you post a horrible review for the film then say "Looks good don't it?" ... LoL... It's almost like your being sarcastic.

LMAO yeah, I know, that might have looked pretty stupid :)

09-03-2005, 07:27 PM
Whens the release date on this film? in the states

09-04-2005, 03:30 AM
this film look dope i'm a big donnie yen fan here, doubt this is gonna be crap though donnie yen imo is more a film natural then most screen actors

and to be honest alot of classic films get slated thats just people who aern't a fan of the genre


Nexodus the Nth Entity
09-05-2005, 04:32 PM
Whens the release date on this film? in the states
I don't think it has been announced, and i think its going to be a limited release unless a distribution company picks it up like they did Hero

either way, good or bad reviews, still going to check this one out

09-05-2005, 04:36 PM
yea i was waiting for this movie to come out for a long time...hope some one picks it upp for the u.s

09-05-2005, 04:46 PM
more then likely they won't pick it up for awhile, i'm gonna check out the comic to see how it goes, if it doesn't get a release us side i'll upload a dvd rip when it comes out in hong kong for people

09-05-2005, 04:51 PM
that will be cool