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獨臂刀王 (1969)
Return of the One-Armed Swordsman

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 07/17/2006
Summary: More accomplished and exciting than the original

Master Fang is back – and he still only has one arm.

Although clearly inferior to the original in terms of visual style and substance, I actually enjoyed this a whole lot more than the first one. Perhaps it’s because it doesn’t rely on “Jimmy” nearly as much as the original. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still the star, but this film’s main plot revolves around warring clans and I just love these big Shaw Brothers/Chang Cheh films where you’ve got dozens of people on screen at once all in period costume and flailing about like lunatics. It’s just super.

Anyway, the plot is very straightforward and uncomplicated. Master Fang is now at peace with himself and lives life as a simple farmer, but is brought out of retirement (reluctantly, of course – for a while I thought I was watching Rambo 3 all over again * shudder *) when a nasty big conglomeration of factions join together in the spirit of all that is evil. One by one, the “good” clans are being wiped out. So it’s up to our one-armed hero and his trusty broken sword to save the day, along with the remnants of one of the good clans.

It seems a lot of work was put in to ramp up the action scenes from the first film. This is more in the style of what would later come out of the studio. While some may mourn the passing of the heavily stylised and “polite” nature of the choreography from ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN, I thought it looked a lot more exciting. There are some great set pieces too, particularly in the final half hour when things come to a head and Fang single-handedly (hee hee!) goes to town on his foes.

There are moments of oddness, though. The shot where Wang-Yu slowly spins horizontally in mid-air through the bamboo forest I could have done without, and will probably haunt me in dreams for many weeks to come. Also, his character can act a bit irrationally at times. Mind you, I just loved the part when they’d scored a major victory over the Furtive King and Fang tells his crew, in the midst of celebrations, to be on the alert and not to get too drunk. His wife finally reveals she’s pregnant (something that will come as no surprise to the viewer whatsoever), so what does Fang do? He tells everyone and they all get severely rat-arsed!

In this film, there are pointers to the direction that Chang Cheh and the Shaw Brothers studio would go in the next five years or so. There are buckets of blood on offer here, and even Ti Lung and David Chiang appear briefly.

There’s an odd proofreading error on the back of the Celestial DVD. It reads: “Director Chang Cheh truly proved he was indeed the “Godfather of the Kung-Fu film” by mounting a follow-up which many say is even more accomplished and exciting than the original. Jimmy Wang Yu is back in the sequel to Chang Cheh’s revolutionary hit, which many say is even more accomplished and exciting than the original.” Hmm, OK. I get the message.

So I would recommend the RETURN OF THE ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN, and think it’s even more accomplished and exciting than the original. And I hear that many people have said the same.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 12/29/2005
Summary: 8/10

Chang Cheh directs a "proper" sequel (as in "same characters, plot follows on somewhat logically") to his seminal film of the previous year, though the film has somewhat less of the epic romantic quality and a more "traditional" martial arts plot of an evil cult seeking supremacy over the jiang hu. I'm not sure how "traditional" such a plot was in 1968 though - it is rather reminiscent of a Chor Yuen/Gu Long film, but with Chang Cheh's grittier gallons-of-blood style. A pretty worthy film, and probably quite ground-breaking at the time, but not as good as its predecessor.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 09/18/2004
Summary: Better than the original

I was disappointed watching the original movie but this movie of non stop action. The movie does add some creativity in it which makes it better than other movies. Though the action can not stand up to the wire fu of todays movies, it's simply fighting scenes makes it better than expected

Wang Yu once again displays he is not a man to fool with and exacts is vengence against the unjust. A must see


Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 04/24/2001
Summary: awesome!

I'm not sure what we watch old school HK movies for. Is it the action? Hell no; not for me anyway. There might be some good action starting from the mid 70s, but that was 5 years before I was born. The tyical one-step, one-punch, slowly-paced, wirefree, Americanized kung fu style is a disgrace to the genre. Could it be the story? That's more like it; most of these movies in original language have nice stories, though every one has major flaws. Well, if it's not the action or the plot, then I'm really unsure of what it is that's making us wanting to watch old school stuff... perhaps just for fun.

This, however, is by far one of the best in the old school catagory I've seen. Wang Yu doesn't show his lack of skill here as he does in, say, Golden Swallow, and the story is indeed Shaw Brotherish inspiring. Too much violence though... NOT FOR KIDS!


Reviewed by: battlemonkey
Date: 12/21/1999

Fong's peaceful life in the country is soon disrupted when theEight Demon Swordsmen start killing, crippling, and then kidnap Fong's wife. He takes up his sword again, and the slaughter begins. More of the same [as in One-Armed Swordsman]. I love it.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Totally awesome. If you like the original, you will love the sequel. It has all the classic Shaw Brothers trademarks: suspense, mood, great costumes, great sets, excellent soundtract, and great acting. Also, nonstop action with a huge body count, tons of bloodletting, and even some great eviscerations. One guy gets stabbed in the abdomen, keeps on fighting, then pushes the sword through further to kill the guy behind him and then keeps on fighting! You will not be disappointed. I give it my highest recommendation. At the end of part one, Fang Kang (Jimmy Wang Yu) promises his wife to settle down, quit fighting, and go tend a farm. The movie opens with the black and the white knight inviting Kang to a tournament for all the martial artists. The tournament which is hosted by the eight masters is not optional and is set up to wipe out all the competition. Kang refuses to go to the tournament and beats up the black and white knight. The elders of the good martial arts schools are kidnapped and their students must cut off their right arm and become subordinates to the eight masters if they want their masters back. Desperate, they convince Kang to come help them (it would not be much of a movie if he did not). Unfortunately, one of them kidnaps Kang's wife (big mistake) and Kang really sets into a rampage to kill off the eight masters (Unknown Nemesis, Poison Dragon, Wheelmasterr, Titan, Longarm, Flying Dervish, Moleman, and 1000 fingers). Personally, I think 1000 fingers is the deadliest, the most decietful, and the most evil of the bunch. Unknown Nemesis is called such because no one know what weapon he uses (no one who sees it lives to tell). The action and the blood are non-stop and all the fights are amazing. I give it my highest recommendation.


[Reviewed by Adam Scott Pritzker]