The Sword Stained with Royal Blood (1993)

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/17/2005

This is one of those uniquely "Hong Kong movies" -- it really doesn't make a lick of sense, but it's still entertaining to watch. The convoluted plot has constable Yuen Biao helping a bandit played by Danny Lee (yes, he's actually not a cop in this film) defeat the warlord (Elvis Tsui) who stole his wife. But, much like a porno film, the plot here only suffices to move the movie along to the next action scene, of which there are plenty of here. The action here is the kind of blood-gushing wire-fu one would probably expect for this type of movie, and it's done well. Compared to the over-Hollywoodized junk coming from HK nowadays, The Sword Stained with Royal Blood is a nice look back at the "golden age" of HK movies, where not every movie was a winner, but imagination seemed boundless.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 07/22/2001
Summary: Great swordplay flick

A highly underrated swordplay epic adapted from Jing Yong's classic novel with the same title. The cast gives an excellent performance, especially Cheng Man, Ng Man Tat, Danny Lee & Elvis Tsui, while Yuen Biao is just so-so. The final duel between Elvis Tsui and Yuen Biao is what I like to see in every martil arts movie. The rest of the action scenes is also impressive, tho not as breathtaking as the finale. The story is great too, though some parts could have been better developed. Overall, all elements are first rate. This is without a doubt a much better movie than the early 80s version starring the venoms. I never get sick of rewatching this favorite of mine.


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/05/2001
Summary: Ummm..........

Danny Lee in a sword fighting movie?? YEP it's true and the effects of this movie seem poor compared to what you can get today!! The ending just finishes which is disappointing but worth watching once!!


Reviewed by: Ash
Date: 02/04/2001
Summary: Standard swordplay movie.

Sword stained with royal blood is a movie with a very weird story. The action scenes are numerous but they are far too short to satisfy a swordplay movie fan. And Yuen Biao doesn't even let us the chance to see his martial artist capacities. But the end fight is well orchestrated with the wires as you witness an aerial fight between two men , for real ,without seeing the wires. This movie remains good to rent but no to buy, buy Duel to the Death or Swordsman II for a good swordplay movie instead. 7,1/10

Reviewed by: ElectraWoman
Date: 10/28/2000
Summary: 6.5/10-Thank GOD for subtitles

I know there's a lot of reviews for this, but I have to add my bit in :)

This film is like a too-faithful version of a Shakespeare play, complete with archaic dialogue and words. To compound the problem the actors all seem to have rote-learnt the script, and they blurt out their lines like a machine gun-"blahblahrahblahrahblah!" So here I was sitting there wondering what the HELL they were saying. Thank GOD for subtitles-while they weren't very clear (not on my version, anyways) at least I knew what they were saying.

NOT that knowing what they were talking about helped decipher the plot at all. Too confusing, too many ill-formed, sometimes seeminly half-baked characters make this film hard to watch. I thought this film was trying too hard to be like Swordsman, and it failed miserably. Still, the fight scenes are amazing.

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/09/2000

Sword Stained with Royal Blood features a script with enough characters and plot twists to satisfy even a daytime soap opera fan. In the first half of the movie, there seems to be a new character or relationship introduced about every five to ten minutes, nonstop! I tried to just adopt a zen approach and allow myself to not get caught up in all the little details. Actually, if you pay close attention it all makes sense (umm ... more or less).

The plot centers around a constable (Yuen Biao) who arrests princess-in-disguise Cheung Man and takes her to a castle where a number of martial arts leaders have gathered. The castle residents are awaiting an assault by Golden Snake Man (Danny Lee, looking a bit corpulent), for reasons that eventually become clear. I have to wonder about some of the casting in this film. I just found it nearly impossible to take Anita Yuen seriously as the evil "Master of the Five Poison Sect". She doesn't exactly ooze malice, even when she's trying. She can do sweet and cute like nobody's business, but evil seemed a bit out of her reach.

On the other hand, it's not like this is Masterpiece Theatre anyway. There's enough flying people, wacky subtitles, and crazy action scenes to satisfy any viewer. Plus it's got Ng Man-Tat and Tsui Kam-Kong, two of the most over-the-top actors in the business. So sit back, try not to question too much, and enjoy yourself.

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 12/18/1999
Summary: Intoxicating and wonderful !

Snowy Frogs. The Five Poison Sect. The Soul Calling Stance. Purple Jade Powder. The Cyclone Strike. Golden Snake Man. With story elements like these, you know you'll have to pay close attention.

The speed with which characters change allegiances is matched only by the frequency of the many spectacular swordfights. Added to which, there are scenes which took me back to being an open-mouthed wondering child.
The plot description doesn't even cover a quarter of the plot. This film is action most of the way, leavened with perfectly-placed interludes of comedy, magic, wonderment, romance and bravado. The color and movement are so breathtaking that you probably won't take much notice the performances. Tsui Kam Kong stands out in minor but important role, and has a cackling good time. Cheung Man's cheekiness is well done, and stops things from getting too serious.
Everything HK movie fans love about wu'xia is in this film and few, if any, do it better. A definite must-see.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 12/09/1999

The frustrating thing abou is that with a little bit of editing it could've been either an insane kung fu comedy OR a solemn swordplay drama. Unfortunatley it wants to be both, and just can't pull it off. After a very promising pre-credits sequence, the movie alternates between KUNG FU CULT MASTER-style craziness and an interesting friend/enemy relationship between swordsmen Yuen Biao and Danny Lee. (!!!) Why the writer/director/whoever thought it would be a good idea to mix silliness and tragedy I have no idea. Some movies manage to make it work somehow, but not this one. However, it's interesting enough to be worth at least one watch.

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

Mixed up adaptation of a Jin Yong story. Has an all-star cast, but doesn't make the best use of it. Some wild and imaginative special effects...

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Not much to say about it since I didn't like it at all, even as it is based on a Jin Yong novel. The movie seemed to drag on and drag and doesn't want to end, and when it finally does, it made no sense.


[Reviewed by Brandon S. Ou]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

A period sword fighting (Wu-xia) ('flying people') film set at the end of Ming Dynasty (late 16th century) in Southern China. The story relates the vendetta between a martial outcast known as Golden Snake Lord and Castle Wan. A princess and a thief-catcher is caught in the midst. The action sequences in this movie have a strong visual impact and made good use of some truly spectacular scenery. Good casting, interesting characters and an intelligent script made this the finest movie adaptation of a Jing Yong's work in recent years. I would recommend this film without reservation to anyone with an interest in this genre of Hong Kong movies. [Note on title: Bi4 Xue3 (azure or blue-green blood) has a colloquial meaning of blood shed in a just cause (by a martyr), so the title could also be "Sword Stained with Blood Shed in a Just Cause," or "Martyr's Sword". "Royal" flows better, and may result from mistranslating "blue blood" to mean royal.]

[Reviewed by Christopher Fu]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Epic looking movie that is a pure joy to look at. The climactic end fight is unbelievable!! I know I use a lot of praise in these reviews, but this fight scene is an absolute must-see. Envision two men, both with enormous power and a sword, battling with each other while "flying" 50 feet above ground and over water. Mind you, this is not just two dummies strung up and run down a line; there were two actual human beings that you could see swinging swords at each other. The story, like most epics it would seem, is a bit tough to follow. Watching the movie twice should get you up to speed on most points.


[Reviewed by Dale Whitehouse]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

In this martial arts fantasy, brave Constable Yuen Shing Chi (Yuen Biao) arrests a petty thief (Cheung Man), but in the process gets involved the a rivalry between the Golden Swordsman and corrupt Lord Wan; Anita Yuen is great as duplicitous Jade Ho of the Poison Sect. The special thing here is the script, which subtly addresses the theme of righteousness as it relates to justice and revenge.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7