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Golden Swallow
   |     review    |     notes     |     Silver Roc's poem     |     availability     |     also see      |   

Lo Lieh and Cheng Pei-Pei in Golden Swallow AKA The Girl with the Thunderbolt Kick.
AKA: The Girl with the Thunderbolt Kick
Chinese: 金燕子
Year: 1968
Director: Chang Cheh
Producer: Runme Shaw
Writer: Chang Cheh, Tu Yun-Chih
Action: Lau Kar-Leung, Tong Gaai
Cast: Jimmy Wang Yu, Cheng Pei-Pei, Lo Lieh, Chao Hsin-Yen, Yang Chih-Ching, Wu Ma
The Skinny: Sequel to King Hu’s classic film Come Drink With Me that—despite its title—focuses more on Jimmy Wang Yu’s Silver Roc than Cheng Pei-Pei’s popular Golden Swallow character. False advertising aside, this is an enjoyable, bloody, and fairly straightforward wuxia tale worth checking out if star-driven Chang Cheh-style carnage is your cup of tea.
Review by

Golden Swallow is technically the 1968 follow-up to Come Drink With Me, the seminal work directed by King Hu, and it does feature Cheng Pei-Pei reprising her role as Xie Ru-Yan, the Golden Swallow. But as far as sequels go, this one is a little iffy. Sure, the film begins with our heroine befriending Golden Whip Han Tao (Lo Lieh) and Flying Fox Hu Zhen (Wu Ma), but truth be told, Golden Swallow is little more than a supporting character in her own film.

Instead, the spotlight shines on top-billed Jimmy Wang Yu and his character Master Xiao Pang, more famously known as Silver Roc to the film's general populace. Dressed in white and sporting a silver sword, Roc was orphaned at a young age when his parents were murdered. Training under the same master as Golden Swallow, Silver Roc learns martial arts, including his sifu's super-secret and totally unblockable move and takes revenge on his parents' killers. Not content to stop there, Silver Roc goes on to slaughter the bandits' entire families. Vengeance was most definitely his.

Apparently, Silver Roc seldom spoke back during his training, except to Golden Swallow, a woman with whom he now longs to be reunited - although he does spend ample time in whorehouses to bide his time. Yet, rather than ask his beloved out to dinner, Silver Roc instead gallivants across the countryside, killing evildoers in her name and leaving behind Golden Swallow's darts at the crime scene in order to draw her out. Not exactly the most romantic of gestures, but the strategy works.

When Golden Swallow and friends finally catch up with Silver Roc, they try to convince him to ease up on all the freelance killing, but to no avail. It's here where elements of a love triangle start to emerge as Han Tao and Silver Roc begin heading towards their climactic duel to the death. Who does Golden Swallow truly love? And will she tell the right guy in time? And what the heck are they going to do when the comrades of all the bad guys Silver Roc killed start showing up? Decisions, decisions.

Despite all this talk of romance, Golden Swallow isn't all about love, peace, and understanding. For a film all about unrequited love, it sure has a lot of disembowelment, flagellation, self-disembowelment, impalement, multiple stab wounds, and the like. This is a flick where folks are drawn, quartered, guillotined, and burned alive, all in that trademarked gory Chang Cheh style. The film's climax is noteworthy in that it centers on a character that just…won't…die! After convincing the other heroes to leave, one character—who by all rights should be dead already—takes on a horde of enemies all by his lonesome, achieving a level of martyrdom not seen outside of a Mel Gibson flick!

But to be slightly more serious for a second, it's a shame that Cheng Pei-Pei was forced to take a backseat to the male characters in the film. It would have been nice for her to really "star" in the picture, but even so, what's given to us instead isn't bad at all. Jimmy Wang Yu does a heck of a job in the role of Silver Roc, imbuing his character with all sorts of intensity, panache, and all-around bad-assery (if that's a word). If you want female empowerment, look elsewhere. But if you want a cool as ice killing machine in that old school Shaws style, Golden Swallow may just be the flick you're looking for. (Calvin McMillin 2004)

Notes: • Reportedly, Cheng Pei-Pei reprised her role as Golden Swallow as a favor to Lo Lieh, since her participation in the project would help "put over" Lo in his first heroic role.
• Not to be confused with 1988's identically titled, but totally unrelated film Golden Swallow, starring Cherie Chung and Anthony Wong Yiu-Ming.
Silver Roc's

With a sword I travel alone
The roc soars high into the clouds.
The land is vast, but where is my home?
Oh Swallow, where are you nestling?


DVD (Hong Kong)
Intercontinental Video Limited (IVL)
Region 3 (NTSC)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 2.0
Removable English, Chinese, and Bahasa Subtitles
Various Extras
Also see: Come Drink With Me (1966)

image courtesy of Intercontinental Video, Ltd. Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen