HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Soul of the Sword His blade spares none
Year: 1978
Director: Hua Shan
Stars: Ti Lung, Lin Chen-chi, Ku Feng, Yue Wing, Norman Tsui Siu-Keung, Lau Wai-Ling, Lily Li, Chan Shen, Chan Jun-Ho, Lee Hoi-Sang, Dave Wong Kit, Lun-Ga Chun, Fanny Leung Maan-Yee, Mama Hung, Yuen Wah
Genre: Drama, Martial Arts, Romance, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Masked swordsman Lu Tien Kang is renowned as the “King of Swords.” Having sent another challenger to his grave, he strides coolly away as the young man’s grief-stricken sweetheart (Lin Chen-chi) commits suicide. A young boy (Dave Wong Kit) hiding up a tree bears witness to this tragedy and boasts someday he will kill Lu Tien Kang and claim his title. Ten years of arduous training later, Nameless (Ti Lung) grows up to be a swordsman with unstoppable skills. Slaying scores of bad guys throughout the land, he swears never to reveal his name until the day he bests Lu Tien Kang. After eluding a female assassin, Nameless is befriended by a wandering healer (Ku Feng) who tries to show him there is a world beyond simple swordplay. Haunted by the spirit of the dead woman he saw as a boy, Nameless is amazed to encounter her identical double: sweet-natured street vendor Ho Lien (Lin Chen-chi again). Even though she already has a suitor in swordsman Yien (Norman Tsui Siu-Keung), Nameless is smitten with her. He leaves Yien beaten and humiliated then ravishes Ho Lien back at his place. Against the odds, they fall in love. Events take a tragic turn when Nameless realises true love could cost him his chance to be “King of Swords.”

Causing some confusion amongst martial arts movie fans, wu xia auteur Chang Pang-Yee made a movie called The Souls of the Sword the very same year, but this like-titled Shaw Brothers flick is the one to watch. Genre fans are more used to seeing the iconic Ti Lung play upright and unflappably intrepid heroes, but in Soul of the Sword he is a ruthless, arrogant, downright dislikeable protagonist. It is a testament to Lung’s charisma and the writing by Yau-Daai On-Ping and Lam Chin-Wai, prolific writer-directors in their own right, that Nameless remains such a compelling, psychologically complex character. Reunited with talented female lead Lin Chen-chi, with whom Lung co-starred in the loopy kung fu-musical-horror-fantasy-love story The Snake Prince, their key scene is beautifully played, brilliantly staged and simply gut-wrenching.

Although the action choreography by Shaw stalwart Tang Chia is inventive and energetic - with several wildly acrobatic manouevres forshadowing his directorial debut Shaolin Prince (1982) - the film impresses formost as a nuanced and contemplative swordplay drama. Episodic but often genuinely poetic this offers an unusually detailed and contectualized view of the wider world beyond martial arts. It is a rare Shaw Brothers movie that takes account of the many innocent casualties caught in the midst of all that sword-swinging. Even the minor characters prove memorable, like the sharp-tongued old granny (Mama Hung) who laments how easily a virtuous girl like Ho Lien can be despoiled, or the blind storyteller who tells bawdy tales while his partner picks people’s pockets. Kung fu icon Lily Li contributes a surprisingly brief cameo - and even more surprising nudity! - as the assassin ambushing Nameless in his bathtub. Yuen Wah also appears as a white-haired warrior wielding a wibbly-wobbly flexible sword.

Foreshadowing the horror fantasies Bloody Parrot (1981) and Portrait in Crystal (1983) by director Hua Shan, Soul of the Sword is quite a sensual film with some steamy love scenes. Late in the day, the plot brings on sultry Lau Wai-Ling as the mystery villainess Lady of Three Moves. She seduces the ever-hapless Yien into her revenge scheme, slicing his clothes off with her sword for a marathon of exhausting, all-night sex. Hua Shan dials down the delirious imagery that marked these later efforts, as well as his classic superhero film Super Infra-Man (1975) and wu xia fairytale Little Dragon Maiden (1983), in support of a more sober story. Nevertheless, he layers the film with some poetic visual effects: subliminal shots of Ho Lien that flicker like a ghost and double-exposed images in a scene where Nameless swipes at a room full of fluttering birds. The identity of Lu Tien Kang will come as no great surprise to genre fans but the unfolding tragedy continues to sting long after the striking, slow-motion duel in the rainswept river. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2812 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: