HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Roving Swordsman They call him the wanderer
Year: 1983
Director: Chu Yuan
Stars: Ti Lung, Ching Li, Cheng Ke-Wei, Goo Goon-Chung, Ku Feng, Kwan Hoi-San, Shum Lo, Wong Mei-Mei, Yuen Bun, Au-Yueng Pui San, Wan Seung-Lam, Lee Hang, Kwan Fung
Genre: Thriller, Martial Arts, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: After killing a nobleman, bat-eating assassin Dugu Ngan (Goo Goon-Chung) is saved from capture by members of the mysterious Murang family. Once renowned throughout the Martial World, the now forgotten and embittered family live in a lavish palace under the sea where clan matriarch Murang Gufang (Cheng Ke-Wei) a.k.a. the Red Plum Thief hatches a scheme alongside her cunning strategist Master Chameleon (Ku Feng) and crafty handmaiden Murang Zhi (Wong Mei-Mei) to take over the world. Bwah-ha-ha!! To do this they need Ngan to steal the Tang Arsenal Manual which contains the secrets to forging mighty weapons.

Whilst traipsing gaily through the 7 Colours Forest, dashing sword hero Shen Sheng-Yi (Ti Lung) and his dainty charge Bai Bing (Ching Li) receive a trademark red note from the Red Plum Thief threatening to kidnap the latter so her father, Bai Yu-Lou (Kwan Hoi-San) will hand over the manual. Sheng-Yi bravely fends off one kidnap attempt, aided by his plucky female sidekick Bu Yan-Fei (Au-Yeung Pui San) and a mysterious swordsman who turns out to be Dugu Ngan in disguise. Murang Gufang’s lackeys promptly abduct Bai Bing and substitute a double in her place, but it turns out the evildoers are in for a shock...

Chu Yan made scores of wuxia (“swordplay”) adventures at Shaw Brothers, sometimes several each year. By the early Eighties he began to vary the formula by indulging in wild experiments, hence Roving Swordsman is a mad genre hybrid of wuxia fantasy, kidnap thriller and spy movie. Plotting world domination from her hi-tech headquarters under the sea, vengeful villainess Murang Gufang is straight out of a James Bond film. When she enquires why the heroic Sheng-Yi will not join her on the dark side he offers this priceless response: “Firstly, I have too many friends. Secondly, you are not that beautiful or worthy enough for me to work for you.” Ouch!

Beneath the mind-bogglingly complex plot mechanics, the film runs like an old fashioned and simplistic adventure serial that eventually degenerates into an extended slugfest. But there is tremendous fun to be had along the way: hair-raising chases, dastardly tricks and ingenious escapes. Chu Yuan relishes staging fiendish death-traps for heroes to fall into and the film features all the usual Shaw Brothers hallmarks including intricate action choreography by Tang Chia and impeccable production values (the cliff-face set is especially outstanding). Yuan drenches the lavish sets in mystical mists and psychedelic lighting to impart the surreal delirium that makes so many of his films seem like lucid dreams.

He also throws a few surprises along the way, including one especially clever twist that answers why plucky wuxia regular Ching Li seems at first to have less to do than usual and bolsters his reputation for including vivid and resourceful heroines. Shaw Brothers icon Ti Lung dominates with his commanding charisma as the unflappably intrepid Shen Sheng-Yi, but Li has her moment in the sun when she laughs off an injury (“I look better with a little red on my dress!”). Despite the occasional indulgence, the film zips along at a brisk eighty-three minutes eventually leaping into its own, abstract, alternate reality when Chu includes his own variation on the hall of mirrors sequence, even more surreal and audacious than the one in Enter the Dragon (1973) - complete with revolving mirrors, trap doors, exploding mannequins and a shiny disco ball.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3913 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: