Seven Swords (HK 2005)
Director : Tsui Hark
Cast : Leon Lai Ming, Charlie Yeung Choi Nei, Lu Yi, Sun Honglei, Kim So-Yeon, Donnie Yen, Wang Xueqi, Zhang Jingchu, Zhou Qunda, Dai Li-Wu, Huang Peng
Adapted from renowned writer Liang Yu-shen’s timeless classic, Seven Swords tells the story of seven unlikely heroes gathered together to save a village from the massacre of a general that is seeking a fortune through killing. In the early 1600′s, the Manchurians have assumed sovereignty and established the Ching Dynasty. A highly oppressive reign thus began. To fight against the brutality of the new government and save the innocent, seven unlikely heroes gathered together and became the Seven Swords. Each sword carries its own character – The Transience Sword, The Dragon Sword, The Heaven’s Fall Sword, The Unlearn Sword, The Deity Sword, TheCelestial Beam Sword and The Star Chasers Sword.
Well, finally Seven Swords hit the Asian cinemas. Adapted from renowned writer Liang Yu Shen’s novels, it tells a story of seven unlikely heroes gathered to save a village from the massacre of a deadly, barbarian cult armies. They are seeking fortune from killing the innocents to collect prize money from the government. Basically, Seven Swords follows the “Seven Swordsmen Leaves Mountain Heaven” novel where 5 swordsmen are summoned from Mount Heaven to save the innocent people. Each and every of them carry an unique sword which has it own capability and usage. There are The Unlearnt, The Dragon, The Transience, The Deity, The Heaven’s Fall, The Celestial Beam, and The Star-Chasers. Another 2 swordsmen came from the village itself and joined as a group to become the Seven Swords.
It started when Fu Qinzu (Lau Kar Leung) got hunted by the deadly armies when he tries to retrieve dog tags from the dead bodies to alert the villagers where they going to be the next targets of the armies. Liu managed to escape and landed on the village, but unfortunately the people doesn’t seems to believe Liu’s words. Two of the villagers sneak out and release Fu in order to find help to save the people. This awaken the heroes of Mount Heaven and their quest begins.
Its an interesting story adapted from the rich Liang Yu Shen’s Wu Xia novels. There are many things to tell and it seems Seven Swords is quite toned down. From its original 4 hours, its been cut to 2.5 hours to suits the theatrical length. As i can see, it really affect the overall outcome of the entire movie. Some of the sequences are poor edited where it jumps from scenes to scenes in a sudden and it makes you wonder. The momentum of the movie seems inconsistent and unable to give a cinematic suspense hype to the audience. The action scenes are good enough to deliver the swords capability but ain’t that great to give you a hype over it. The most notable action scene is the part where Donnie Yen (Chu Zaonan aka Dragon Sword) versus Sun Hong Lei (Fire-Wind Leader) in the tight space alley where Chu Zaonan set to reclaim his Dragon Sword from the Fire-Wind leader. Tsui Hark definitely put an effort in the visual part where the sets, location, back drop, and scenery look really promising, especially the scenes on Mount Heaven. Costumes are no doubt well made and look good. On the screenplay, Tsui Hark tends to follow the original, concentrated on the coming together of the swords where each of them are driven to unexpected courage and strength by love, friendship, spirit of justice, and the longing for a peaceful and harmonious world
On the actors, we can see the return of several veteran actors such as Leon Lai, Charlie Yeung (New Police Story) and Andrew Lau Kar Leung. Donnie Yen has been quite active in these several years and it seems he is going to shrine in this genre. There is nothing to shout out about the acting performance of the entire cast but most of them delivers their characters well enough.
Overall, Seven Swords is a piece of new Wu Xia genre which focus more on storytelling plot rather than action-speaks louder flick. The original novels are so rich that it cant be fit into a single movie only, thus there will be a sequel. At last, this movie is not for everyone. If you are looking for an entertaining action-packed Wu Xia flick, you will be disappointed.
Plot : 2/5
Acting : 3/5
Entertainment : 3/5
Overall : 3/5
- Scenes on Mount Heaven
- Chu Zaonan (Donnie Yen) vs Fire-Wind Leader
Buy this movie at YesAsia – Seven Swords