HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
Flesh Feast
Gerald's Game
Crocodile Dundee II
Baaghi
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Roving Swordsman They call him the wandererBuy this film here.
Year: 1983
Director: Chu Yuan
Stars: Ti Lung, Ching Li, Cheng Ke-Wei, Goo Goon-Chung, Ku Feng, Kwan Hoi-San, Shum Lo, Wong Mei-Mei, Yuen Bun, Au-Yueng Pui San, Wan Seung-Lam, Lee Hang, Kwan Fung
Genre: Thriller, Martial Arts, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: After killing a nobleman, bat-eating assassin Dugu Ngan (Goo Goon-Chung) is saved from capture by members of the mysterious Murang family. Once renowned throughout the Martial World, the now forgotten and embittered family live in a lavish palace under the sea where clan matriarch Murang Gufang (Cheng Ke-Wei) a.k.a. the Red Plum Thief hatches a scheme alongside her cunning strategist Master Chameleon (Ku Feng) and crafty handmaiden Murang Zhi (Wong Mei-Mei) to take over the world. Bwah-ha-ha!! To do this they need Ngan to steal the Tang Arsenal Manual which contains the secrets to forging mighty weapons.

Whilst traipsing gaily through the 7 Colours Forest, dashing sword hero Shen Sheng-Yi (Ti Lung) and his dainty charge Bai Bing (Ching Li) receive a trademark red note from the Red Plum Thief threatening to kidnap the latter so her father, Bai Yu-Lou (Kwan Hoi-San) will hand over the manual. Sheng-Yi bravely fends off one kidnap attempt, aided by his plucky female sidekick Bu Yan-Fei (Au-Yeung Pui San) and a mysterious swordsman who turns out to be Dugu Ngan in disguise. Murang Gufang’s lackeys promptly abduct Bai Bing and substitute a double in her place, but it turns out the evildoers are in for a shock...

Chu Yan made scores of wuxia (“swordplay”) adventures at Shaw Brothers, sometimes several each year. By the early Eighties he began to vary the formula by indulging in wild experiments, hence Roving Swordsman is a mad genre hybrid of wuxia fantasy, kidnap thriller and spy movie. Plotting world domination from her hi-tech headquarters under the sea, vengeful villainess Murang Gufang is straight out of a James Bond film. When she enquires why the heroic Sheng-Yi will not join her on the dark side he offers this priceless response: “Firstly, I have too many friends. Secondly, you are not that beautiful or worthy enough for me to work for you.” Ouch!

Beneath the mind-bogglingly complex plot mechanics, the film runs like an old fashioned and simplistic adventure serial that eventually degenerates into an extended slugfest. But there is tremendous fun to be had along the way: hair-raising chases, dastardly tricks and ingenious escapes. Chu Yuan relishes staging fiendish death-traps for heroes to fall into and the film features all the usual Shaw Brothers hallmarks including intricate action choreography by Tang Chia and impeccable production values (the cliff-face set is especially outstanding). Yuan drenches the lavish sets in mystical mists and psychedelic lighting to impart the surreal delirium that makes so many of his films seem like lucid dreams.

He also throws a few surprises along the way, including one especially clever twist that answers why plucky wuxia regular Ching Li seems at first to have less to do than usual and bolsters his reputation for including vivid and resourceful heroines. Shaw Brothers icon Ti Lung dominates with his commanding charisma as the unflappably intrepid Shen Sheng-Yi, but Li has her moment in the sun when she laughs off an injury (“I look better with a little red on my dress!”). Despite the occasional indulgence, the film zips along at a brisk eighty-three minutes eventually leaping into its own, abstract, alternate reality when Chu includes his own variation on the hall of mirrors sequence, even more surreal and audacious than the one in Enter the Dragon (1973) - complete with revolving mirrors, trap doors, exploding mannequins and a shiny disco ball.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1496 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 film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: