Movie Review: ‘Sword Master’

Review by Bluray Junkies

Sword Master is a remake of the 1977 film Death Duel. The original star comes back playing the title role as the third Sword Master Hsiao Feng. He is known throughout the land as the greatest swordman still alive. When rumors spread that Feng has died the Kingdom goes into turmoil. The clan of swordsmen hang up their swords and leave the Kingdom while his fiance wants proof that he’s dead and is encouraged to take over the Kingdom with her own clan. Feng however is not dead but instead has gone into hiding and is disguising himself as a errand boy for a brothel in another town. Because of past events Feng has vowed to never take up his 13 sword fighting method again. Meanwhile his fiancie sends a death cult on a rampage through the Kingdom. When Feng is forced to reveal himself it escalates a battle between the death cult and the sword master.

Producer Tsui Hark has been producing independent martial art films for some time now, he understands how to use wirework, chorograohed fight scenes with modest CGI effecfs that gives his films a unique and fun look. Even though the effects in Sword Master do much of the time look rather bad, it doesn’t distract you or take you out of the movie. The fight scenes are well choreographed and sometimes a little cheesy but again that’s the charm of the movie. It’s a martial arts tale and is in the same realm as other independant martial art movies. Director Derek Yee also breaths new life into this movie giving it a new direction while still keeping true to the source material and his influence for his love for martial art cinema is felt throughout the movie. While characters perform impossible feats of jumping and gliding during fight scenes with obvious wirework. Yee’s direction and the cinematography make it work and you never feel cheated. The movie is also visually great to look at with some beautiful landscape shots and inventive camera work. Sword Master may not be a cinematic masterpiece but it’s set in the tradition and mythology of martial arts cinema and that’s the charm of it and is worth a watch.

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