Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Summary: A fanciful and enjoyable wuxia film
In another one of Lo Wei's excellent wuxia films, the powerful Jade Dragon Sword is stolen by the devious Tang Dachuan (Wong Chung-Shun). His plan involved the seduction of the owner's daughter, Fan Ying (Cheng Pei-Pei), and when she is found and the sword recovered, she is banished to the Dragon Swamp for 20 years. Now, 20 years later the sword has been stolen again, and it is up to Master Fan of the Lingshan Clan (Lo Wei) to send his disciples out into the world to recover it. One of them is the daughter of Fan Ying (unknownst to her and again played by Cheng Pei-Pei) and she gets involved with the Roaming Knight (Yueh Hua) who happens to be searching for his long-lost love, Fan Ying. Together, they brave the Dragon Swamp in search for answers about the whereabouts of Fan Ying and possibly, the Jade Dragon Sword.
Reviewer Score: 8
Dragon Swamp's story is simple but draws you in, and the fanciful nature of the plot elements (i.e. the booby-trapped swamp and the all-powerful Dragon Swamp Master) keep you enthralled. The interesting effect of having the Jade Dragon Sword emit a strong green glow (echoed in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Master Fan's staff an orange glow adds to the powerful aura of the weapons and their masters. The fight choreography is also top-notch, especially the inn fight (although very similar to its counterpart in Come Drink With Me) between Pei-Pei and the five assassins sent to end her mission. The more I see of the wuxia films of the late 60s and early 70s, the more I see their allure. They always put forth interesting plots with all sorts of twists, turns and interesting characters. Of course, having great actors and actresses such as Cheng Pei-Pei, Yueh Hua and Lo Leih portray these characters make it all the more appealing. No matter what role Pei-Pei is put in, here in a dual role of mother and 21 year old daughter, she exudes charisma and charm. She is always an immediate draw to see any movie she stars in. Although some of the effects seem dated even for the late 60s, the movie is definitely one that should be seen by fans wuxia cinema.
Reviewed by: MrBooth
****1/2 DRAGON SWAMP: Lo Wei was never a great director, but he was at least consistently mediocre with a knack for surrounding himself with real talent and imitating his superiors. DRAGON SWAMP is another attempt to borrow some of the success of King Hu's films with a bit of Chang Cheh influence as spice. Cheng Pei-Pei plays two roles in the film, and is adorable in both. Lo Lieh also gets one of his best early parts, and Yueh Hua's presence is always welcome even if this role isn't one of his best moments. The film is undoubtably the best Lo Wei work I've seen so far - though this has little to do with his direction, which is pedestrian, and everything to do with the strong story, great cast and beautiful production design. And it has real dragons!
Reviewer Score: 9