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The Magic Blade
Chinese: 天涯明月刀 The Magic Blade
The Magic Blade
Year: 1976
Director: Chor Yuen
Action: Tong Gaai
Cast: Ti Lung, Lo Lieh, Tim Lei, Cheng Lee, Ha Ping, Guk Fung, Fung Hak-On
The Skinny: Chor Yuen-directed wuxia tale starring Ti Lung. Great sets, costumes and fight scenes make this a must see for any fan of the Shaw Bros. classics.

Fu Hung Hsueh (Ti Lung) is a stoic and extremely skilled wandering swordsman in Chor Yuen's The Magic Blade. Based on a novel by Gu Long, the film opens with Fu engaged in a showdown with Yen Nan-Fei (Lo Lieh) over a previously unresolved duel. Soon, their rivalry is put aside as the warriors of an unseen evil sorcerer named Yu attack Yen. Fu saves Yen's life and the two join forces against Master Yu in a race to find the ultimate weapon: the exploding "peacock dart."

After fighting more killers, Fu and Yen procure the peacock dart from its keeper. The two men set off to find the elusive Yu along with the beautiful, pure-hearted Chiu Yu-Cheng (Cheng Lee). Eventually, Yen is separated from his companions, leaving Fu to carry the rest of the film on his broad shoulders. Fu and Chiu also fall in love, and meet many people along the way who also want the dart. Their journey is filled with as many plot twists as wire-flips, and Fu has to use his wits as much as his skills as a swordsman to complete his quest.

Compared to other Shaw Bros. classics, The Magic Blade contains more splatter and nudity. The film is overall very enjoyable and entertaining, and director Chor Yuen very wisely made sure to include something for everyone. There's even a quick lesbian scene at Yu's mansion! The end battle with the as yet unseen Yu in Tien Wai mansion is also real showstopper. Star Ti Lung proves once and for all that he doesn't need David Chiang as a co-lead. His physicality and acting are in top form here.

The production isn't as grand as some of the older Shaw Bros. pictures, but The Magic Blade does appear to have had a significant budget with the sets, costumes, choreography and supporting actors all being top notch. The music contains cues from the original Planet of the Apes, but they're edited well with The Magic Blade's original soundtrack. The weapons are some of the most creative in the genre, with the best being Ti Lung's sword: a combination of a nightstick and spinning machete. In this hero's hands, it is definitely "The Magic Blade." (Magicvoice 2003)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Intercontinental Video Ltd. (IVL)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin Language Track
Removable English, Chinese, Thai subtitles
Audio Commentary, Interviews

image courtesy of Intercontinental Video, Ltd.

 Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen