The Blade


"Highly recommended for fans in need of another great, thought provoking sword film."

- Vic Nguyen

The Blade (1995)

Literally: Sword

Director: Tsui Hark

Writer: Tsui Hark, So Man-Sing, Koan Hui On

Producer: Tsui Hark

Cast: Zhao Wen-Zhou (Chiu Man-Cheuk), Xiong Xin-Xin (Hung Yan-Yan), Sonny (Song Nei), Moses Chan Ho, Austin Wai Tin-Chi, Valerie Chow Kar-Ling, Jason Chu Wing-Tong, Michael Tse Tin-Wah, Ngai Sing

Running Time: 104 min.

Plot: After 20 years, a young man learns the truth of his father's death . Stealing his father's broken blade, he journeys to a road of revenge. A beautiful tale of love & honor; good & evil and, a single blade with a history of 20 years past.

Availability: This title is available at


IUXION'S REVIEW: Call me crazy, but I've always liked movies like The Blade, you know, wuxia movies with tight choreography and lots of swords. However, recently all that wire-fu with the Matrix, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, etc. etc. has been getting me a little bored. Sure, it's great, but I want something different now; something more realistic yet just as intense. So when I heard someone pitch The Blade as a Tsui Hark classic with no wires and lots of swordplay in the style of Wong Kar Wai, I couldn't be more excited. Then I read Slaxor's review at this site and figured he must've had a bad day. Turns out, he's the only sane one among us.

Tsui Hark basically utilizes every technique Wong Kar Wai is known for in this dark retelling of the One-Armed Swordsmen, but fails to emulate any of the stuff that fans really like in that director's movies, mainly his interesting well-rounded characters. Tsui Hark's characters are about as likable as an old rusted toilet, and his movie essentially looks like one too. To say that this movie is dark is an understatement-don't expect the Swordsmen trilogy. I guess he was trying to gritty and bold (and a lot of this was pretty pointless story wise, besides being atmospheric). Not that I hate movies that concentrate on mood or atmosphere instead of a plot (quite the opposite actually), it's just that there has to be something there. Staring at a bunch of dirty people, some of who hang naked upside down burnt to crisp, for two hours is not my idea of entertainment. Maybe he (Tsui Hark) should have concentrated on the script.

The one redeeming factor of this movie is the final fight sequence, which is obviously sped up a great deal, but is still interesting and well done. The rest of the fights don't fare so well-sure, I wanted realistic action, but if it all looks this bad (think the James Bond fight sequences without the guns), I'll take wire-fu any day.

In conclusion, this movie is very very bad, and I wanted to like it so much. Tsui Hark has never been my favorite director, although I have liked some of this other films (Time and Tide being one of them, a movie that also uses a lot of WKW techniques, but puts them to a better use).


SLAXOR'S REVIEW: The most overrated piece of HK dung ever.

What is their to like in The Blade? How about fight scenes that are so zoomed in and use such crappy editing you usually end up only seeing the character's faces for the majority of the fights. Several directors in the West must have been influenced by this.

Then there's the obviously steroid-enhanced huge monk who kicks a bunch of people's asses bar fight style even though we're in a period kung-fu movie and he's, well, a monk.

Next, we have probably the only moment I truly enjoyed and that's Xin Xin Xiong swinging around bear traps on the end of his chain weapon during the end scene.

Speaking of bear traps how does stuffed animal dogs getting trapped in them sound to you? The only purpose this stupid scene serves is for some ignorant insecure non-Chinese people on some message board out there to say, "Oh my god; those Chinese are so mean to animals.  That was definitely real because dogs bleed stuffing!"

Why this is considered a HK classic has boggled my mind for quite some time. I can only assume it is the sheep-like attitude of viewers who believe anything that was a hit or well regarded in HK must be good. What if some new total piece of crap Ekin Cheng romantic comedy was #1 for like a month and it was held in high regards? People would be calling it HK's My Sassy Girl.

So, I am hear to tell you to save your money and not to follow the crowd on this one because it will lead you to a movie not worth half the praise it receives.

SLAXOR'S RATING: 2/10 because I think Xin Xin Xiong swings 2 bear traps around in the end scene.

YATE'S REVIEW: If "Ashes of Time" is "Chungking Express", than this is "Fallen Angels". Both this and "Fallen Angels" play like warped versions of the first stories, and I really recommend that you see this. Brutal action, lots of WKW-isms, and nice direction by Tsui Hark. Kind of like Tsui Hark's own "Ashes of Time". A must see.


VIC NGUYEN'S REVIEW: Tsui Hark, after filming the box office hit The Chinese Feast, set his sights on a period martial arts epic, and what resulted is this masterpiece which perfectly blends lightning fast swordplay, along with strong themes and ambitious cinematography. Mainland Chinese martial artist Zhou Wen-zhou headlines this story which is another take on Jimmy Wang Yu's sword classic One Armed Swordsman. Many critics lambasted this production for being too close to Wong Kar-wai (cinematography, voice over narratives) for it's own good, but Tsui Hark clearly has invented a style of his own. Highly recommended for fans in need of another great, thought provoking sword film.