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三少爺的劍 (2016)
Sword Master

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 05/01/2018
Summary: Newer, longer, talkier

Not sure if this is a remake of the 1977 “Death Duel” or if it is a movie based on the original novel. The events have been shuffled a bit, the exploited workers changed from rice bag carrying coolies to latrine emptying night soil gatherers and the heroine is more clearly a prostitute working in a brothel. The stunts are pretty spectacular, bookended by single combat on a bridge over an ice-bound river to begin and the final, crucial battle at the end. There are too many people with too much to say to each other, none of it terribly profound although there is some real pathos in the Third Master’s ability to face death without flinching.

Recommended for the wildly creative updated action choreography, much of it a result of special effects and green-screen work. The studios aren’t exactly grinding out a lot of wuxia films these days (or at least they aren’t showing up where I can find them). “Sword Master” is worth catching.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 01/04/2017
Summary: Patchy but good fun

Colourful, beautifully photographed, airborne sword battles for no particular reason .... ah, how could you not love wu’xia ?

This not-too-earnest remake of Death Duel (1977) is a fine way to spend a couple of hours. The wacky and weaving plot is a standard Ku Long Confuser which eventually makes sense ... well, sort of.

The fight-and-flight scenes range from great to fantastic, especially the all-important climactic battle. These highs do a lot to make up for the sometimes-too-long scenes where nothing much happens and the story drags. I’d have been happy to see about twenty minutes cut out from these parts, and the film would have suffered not one bit for it.

Derek Yee this time directs the story which originally launched his career. It is great to see some of the old favourites put in appearances, including several from the original. Norman Chu is always good value, as is Goo Goon-Chung. Even Jamie Luk pops up.

Any film with Tsui Hark’s name prominently in the credits is worth watching. Though far from his best work, well worth watching.

Reviewer Score: 7