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C (1993)
Slave of the Sword

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 04/25/2007
Summary: Avoid this one.

This movie is one of less than a handful of movies that were so bad that I actually got up and walked out of the cinema. Slave of the Sword is just dreadful. Max Mok Siu-Chung manages to provide some laughs, mostly unintentional, as a wicked eunuch. It's hard to believe that the same man directed Fantasy Mission Force. Wait. Maybe, it's not. Hard to believe, I mean. Avoid this one.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/17/2005

Director Chu has a, shall we say, "eccentric" track record when it comes to films. He's best known for strange action films such as the Jackie Chan/Jimmy Wang Yu/Brigitte Lin movie Fantasy Mission Force. Here he's crafted a movie that's strange, but unlike most of his other works, isn't interesting in any way. Despite the wu xia pretenses, at its core this film is nothing more than softcore porn. There's a few minutes of exposition, maybe some fighting and then a sex scene. Repeat this about five or six times and you get the gist of this movie. The sex scenes aren't even all that erotic -- they're the same slow-motion over-filtered crap featured in many other trashy movies on both sides of the ocean. Avoid this one unless you're desperate to see some naked Asian women.

[review from]

Reviewed by: ksbutterbox
Date: 01/26/2003
Summary: Decent Film for Exploitation

Saw this over a year ago and decided to
watch it once more..due to Pauline
Chan's demise recently.

I liked it better the second viewing.
The first was a bit disappointing..
but having lowered my expectations,
the camera work and action scenes
are pretty well done.

This is one to just sit back and look at
though,...cannot say it's a good film
but it does have some nice scenery..including Ms. Chan!!

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 12/26/2002

Initially published only in a dubbed VHS version and a OOP vcd with no subs, this early nineties B-movie has now been re-released on DVD, most likely to cash in on the recent suicide of starlet Pauline Chan. The DVD itself is a sub-par quickie with vcd-like picture quality and burnt-in subs, but is at least watchable.

As for the movie itself, it's an interesting (and to my knowledge unique) attempt at fusing the in those days popular swordplay genre with the kind of softcore Cat 3 period sex popularized by films like Sex and Zen. Similar attempts were made to add an erotic dimension to the equally popular ghost movie genre (eg the Chinese Erotic Ghost Story franchise), and obviously there's a bevy of outright period sex films set mostly during the Ming and Qing dynasties (Chinese Torture Chamber Story, Sex and the Emperor, Lover of the last Empress etc.) but I can't think of any other example that adheres to the conventions of the swordplay/wuxia genre but throws in some (mostly gratuitous) sex scenes...

Slave of the Sword is by no means anything special - the revenge-driven plot jumps around seemingly unstructured at times, the characters are all stereotypes (the evil eunuch, the heartless killer, the innocent girl, the scheming brothel madam), the dialogues are often laughable (the Hex-filled English subtitles don't help either, but they at least offer some degree of involuntary humour) and the acting is firmly rooted in the B-movie universe of over the top emoting. However, all the costumes and sets are borrowed from the (far superior) film Butterfly and Sword, and the action choreography also seems to have been done by the same team (with some footage from that film thrown in for good measure), with the end result being a movie that looks far better than expected. It is kind of eerie at times for those familiar with Butterfly and Sword, because you're constantly fighting a sense of deja vu, almost as if you're watching an alternate version of the same movie. Nevertheless, the movie does look very good at times, with some very atmospheric cinematography.

As for the sex scenes, they do pay a lot of attention to mood, so you have lots of flower petals and silk fabrics floating in slow motion, intercut with lots of closeups of Pauline Chan and Joyce Ngai kissing. It's all fairly tame (for the most part) and overall pretty forgettable. Pauline Chan does what is expected in this type of film (i.e. she "reveals her points"), and as for Joyce Ngai, having seen her in the charming Ringo Lam movie Esprit d'Amour, I'd have to say its a shame her career never took off and she was relegated to playing in subpar B-movies like this one (although she did have a hilarious turn as a tomboy cop in the otherwise idiotic Pang Dan flick Midnight Caller).

As a curiosity, this title might be worth checking out; especially if you're a fan of the lead actresses. Everyone else should go watch Butterfly and Sword instead.

Reviewed by: RLM
Date: 05/17/2002
Summary: Sex & Swordplay....

Sex & Swordplay knockoff of Buttery & Comet Sword. Fight sequences are edited to ultra fuzz and slowmo. The DVD I watched did not have English subtitles. The review by Tai Seng is especially funny in that it bears little resemblance to the actual movie. Difficult to incoherent story to follow. Waste of time really. Did I mention a caution: lot's of lesbian sex. Maybe it was worth watching after all......

...also, the Zither music score is pure candy for the ears; slow, haunting, and mezmorizing...the instrument has never sounded better.

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 12/29/1999
Summary: Surreal mixture of period costume swordplay and sex'n'skin

It's very difficult to find sense in the plot, but there are certainly many layers of revenge, relating to children being sold into the service of the court.
Not that there's an excess of script. Not at all. In fact, great chunks of the movie have no dialogue at all. The technical qualities of this film rate pretty high. Lush photography, great soundtrack and sound design, and a surreal look, similar to the great Chinese Ghost Story series. Unfortunately, the result is simply dull and confusing. True, there are a couple of great swordfighting set pieces, and the nude scenes are quite pleasant. But it all floats around like a cloud, and is just as hard to catch.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/21/1999

A pupil of a retired martial arts performer uses his wizardry to destroy what was once love and harmony between brothers and sisters into hatred and unescapable tragedy.

[Reviewed by Tai Seng Catalog]

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

Level III revenge / sword-flick. (Some of the sets and props were stolenfrom "Butterfly and Sword.")

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Murder-for-hire, fear, revenge, and love are the subjects of this erotic martial arts film, with Pauline Chan as an unfortunate girl sold to a brothel during the brutal days of the Ming Dynasty.

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]