HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Alpha
Walking Tall
Blockers
Tongan Ninja
Black '47
Godfather Part II, The
Await Further Instructions
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
In Order of Disappearance
Charlotte's Web
Meg, The
Christmas Blood
Equalizer 2, The
1985
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
   
 
Newest Articles
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
   
 
  Swordsman III: The East is Red Back once again for the renegade masterBuy this film here.
Year: 1993
Director: Ching Siu Tung, Raymond Lee, Tsui Hark
Stars: Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia, Joey Wong, Jean Wang Ching-Ying, Yu Rong-Guang, Lau Shun, Eddy Ko, Lee Ka-Ting, Kingdom Yuen King-Tan, Yen Shi-Kwan, Dion Lam Dik-On
Genre: Martial Arts, Weirdo, Historical, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: After the blockbusting Swordsman II: Invincible Asia (1992), the hit team of Ching Siu Tung and Tsui Hark, together with protégé Raymond Lee, rushed through this ambitious but messy sequel, minus star Jet Li who had fallen out with Hark at the time. Following a recap of the climactic battle ending with god-like martial arts super-being Invincible Asia (Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia) taking a seemingly fatal fall off Black Cliff, the film resumes many years later in Ming Dynasty China. Government agent Koo (Yu Rong-Guang) guides a galleon load of Spanish conquistadors and Catholic priests in search of a treasure stolen from them years before. At the now derelict site of the Sun Moon Sect, a crazy kung fu hermit reveals a rotting corpse residing in Asia’s tomb. When Koo discovers the Spanish are not seeking stolen treasure but Asia’s all-powerful Secret Scrolls, he rails against their treachery. Whereupon the old hermit unmasks as the agelessly beautiful Asia and contemptuously hurls the Spaniard’s bullets and cannonballs back at them.

Koo’s impassioned plea for the plight of the Chinese people persuades Asia to spare his life. From him she learns a multitude of fake Invincible Asias have sprung up across China, posing as gods and encouraging grotesque human sacrifices. One of the more benevolent impostors is Snow (Joey Wong), Asia’s onetime concubine (who actually died in the last film, but never mind), who uses her supernatural powers to fend of an invading Japanese armada led by Darth Vader-like shogun warlord Mo Yan Chu Lung. Invincible Asia soon springs into action, intent on undoing all his/her own wrongs, but an array of innocent casualties are caught in his/her wrath.

The East is Red starts out promisingly with an ambitious agenda. This time round Asia seems genuinely regretful that his/her ambition to unify China into a global superpower has led only to division, suspicion and suffering among her people. Neither is Asia especially happy about being worshipped as a god, since her self-image was as someone able to inspire the Chinese to aim higher for themselves. Throughout the film we see examples of fakery, of people pretending to be something they are not: a beautiful concubine is unmasked as a hideous zombie ninja, a gigantic samurai stands revealed as a midget in gadget-laden suit of armour, a crass general opens a brothel with whores dressed like Invincible Asia reciting her famous slogans. The film is a call to reject idolatry and embrace unity.

Sadly, the plot turns incoherent as characters’ actions grow more questionable. Asia may be more of a conflicted anti-heroine, but is still prone to bouts of megalomania and homicidal rage. Both Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia and Joey Wong deliver commanding, multifaceted performances, but while their characters are by turns capricious, compassionate and cruel, Yu Rong-Guang’s frustratingly vague Koo is too weak to serve as the moral centre. The women keep bashing him about like a human ping-pong ball. Towards the climax, Koo has an inexplicable personality switch that leaves you unsure where the plot is heading.

At least with Ching Siu Tung on board the action and surreal imagery are as incredible as always: Joey Wong battles kite-surfing ninjas using sewing-needle kung fu, an assassin regurgitates live pigeon, a Japanese galleon transforms into a steampunk submarine straight out of a tokkusatsu show. Where else can you see Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia ride the ocean waves on a giant swordfish and catch a cannonball in mid-air? In keeping with the previous film there is an emphasis on erotic imagery as Joey Wong shares an opium fuelled lesbian interlude with duplicitous concubine Dai (Jean Wang Ching-Ying) and torrid love scenes between two of Hong Kong cinema’s most striking stars that kept this a fan favourite, in spite of its flaws.


Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1642 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Tsui Hark  (1950 - )

Hong Kong director, producer, writer and actor and one of the most important figures in modern Hong Kong cinema. Hark majored in film in the US, before returning to his homeland to work in television. Made his directing debut in 1979 with the horror thriller The Butterfly Murders, while 1983's Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain was a spectacular ghost fantasy quite unlike anything in HK cinema at the time. Other key films of this period include Shanghai Blues and the brilliant Peking Opera Blues.

Hark established the Film Workshop production house in 1984, and was responsible for producing such groundbreaking films as John Woo's action classics The Killer and A Better Tomorrow, Ching Siu-Tung's A Chinese Ghost Story and New Dragon Gate Inn, and Yuen Woo-Ping's Iron Monkey. In 1991 Hark revitalised the period martial arts genre and launched the career of Jet Li by directing the hugely successful Once Upon a Time in China, which was followed by several sequels.

Like many Hong Kong directors, Hark gave Hollywood a go in the late nineties and directed Jean-Claude Van Damme in Double Team and Knock Off. He returned home soon after to continue directing and producing movies like Time and Tide, the epic effects-fest Legend of Zu and romantic adventure Seven Swords.

 
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 do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
   

 

Last Updated: