HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Full Moon Scimitar Why ask for the moon when we can have the scimitar?
Year: 1979
Director: Chu Yuan
Stars: Derek Yee, Lisa Wang, Meg Lam, Wang Jung, Helen Poon Bing-Seung, Yueh Hua, Goo Goon-Chung, Norman Tsui Siu-Keung, Cheng Miu, Teresa Ha Ping, Wang Lung-Wei, Wong Ching-Ho
Genre: Horror, Martial Arts, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: “The full moon, smooth scimitar faces many challengers… tears drop as the wind laments… love will soon be forgotten.” Thus goes the lilting Canto-pop ballad that plays over the opening credits where dashing Ding Peng (Derek Yee) fights his way through an array of swordsman to become the top-ranked hero of the Martial World. When Ding Peng rescues a scantily-clad beauty named Ke Xiao (Meg Lam) from pursuing bandits, she lures him back to her boudoir for a night of passion. He awakens the next morning to discover his precious kung fu manual has been stolen. Turns out Ke Xiao is the wife of his arch-rival Liu Ruo Song (Wang Jung) who not only bests Ding Peng in battle but proves his late father stole the manual from the Wu Tang Clan, forcing him to withdraw from the Martial World in disgrace.

A failed suicide bid lands Ding Peng inside a mystical netherworld - a truly breathtaking set - where Qing Qing (Lisa Wang), a beautiful ghost maiden in flowing white, guards the legendary super-weapon “the Full Moon Scimitar.” She becomes his teacher, protector and lover and after Ding Peng wins over her ghost brethren, the pair return to the Martial World where Qing Qing exacts revenge by haunting the villains. However, the defeated Ruo Song surprises everybody when he begs Ding Peng to take him as his student. Aided by the scimitar and Ruo Song’s counsel, Ding Peng rises to the top once more but such power-crazed ambition takes its toll on his relationship with Qing Qing.

By this point Chu Yuan had wu xia (“swordplay”) movies down to a fine art. Full Moon Scimitar features the usual array of high-flying heroes, allusions to classical poetry, jaunts across fantasy worlds bathed in candy-coloured lighting and scintillating doses of eroticism and horror. It ranks among the most opulent movies Yuan made at Shaw Brothers, but this time the veteran filmmaker weaves his trademark mystical ambience over a story that is noticeably less hectic, more contemplative and romantic. Prolific novelist/screenwriter Ku Lung crafts a deeply moral fable wherein Ding Peng is gradually corrupted by his reckless pursuit of fortune and glory. His initial triumphs are against glowering villains but then he unwisely picks a fight with sagely good guy 3rd Master Xie Xiao Feng (genre veteran Yueh Hua) and marries wealthy heiress Nan Gong (Helen Poon Bing-Seung) whilst scheming to keep Qing Qing as his bit on the side.

Derek Yee excels in an atypically flawed role, but Yuan’s films always revolve around strong female characters. Lisa Wang delivers an equally powerful performance, ensuring the scenes where she haunts Ruo Song and his wife are unexpectedly intense. Wang was a multitalented singer, dancer and actress who became a household name on Hong Kong television and in Cantonese opera, going on to found two opera troupes. She later went into politics, serving as the Hong Kong/Macau representative at the National People’s Congress between 1988-98 and became the first woman elected chairman of the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong.

Her talented co-star, the lovely Meg Lam also registers strongly as the almost Lady Macbeth-like figure of Ke Xiao, in spite of a regrettably early exit. Lam went from beauty contest winner to TV star in 1974 (though she had studied at the first acting class run by Hong Kong’s Television Broadcast Limited), then found big screen notoriety in Bald Headed Betty (1975) where she played a murderous hooker who disguises her bald pate with an array of kinky wigs. She went on to found San Sheng Films with her directorial debut Torrid Wave (1981) (where she performed an infamous steamy lesbian scene), then shed her racy image in the Eighties and Nineties as the host of the top-rated news show Hong Kong Today.

While Full Moon Scimitar retains a consistent theme, the plot keeps having to spring new villains (including perennial bad guy Wang Lung-Wei as Invincible Eagle) for Ding Peng to tackle, before 3rd Master arrives to teach everyone the error of their ways. Towards the end Chu Yuan loses control as things lapse into a series of repetitive brawls and standoffs, but the film still ranks among his strongest efforts.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 5512 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: