Director: Tsui Hark
Producer: Tsui Hark
Cast: Vincent Chiu Man Chuk, Hung Yan-Yan, Song Lei, Moses Chan Ho, Austin Wai Tin-Chi, Valerie Chow Kar-Ling, Jason Chu Wing-Tong, Michael Tse, Ngai Sing, Yuen Bun
Running Time: 100 min.
Call me crazy, but I’ve always liked movies like The Blade, you know, wuxia movies with tight choreography and lots of swords. However, recently all that wire-fu with The Matrix, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, etc. etc. has been getting me a little bored. Sure, it’s great, but I want something different now; something more realistic yet just as intense. So when I heard someone pitch The Blade as a Tsui Hark classic with no wires and lots of swordplay in the style of Wong Kar Wai, I couldn’t be more excited.
Tsui Hark basically utilizes every technique Wong Kar Wai is known for in this dark retelling of the One-Armed Swordsmen, but fails to emulate any of the stuff that fans really like in that director’s movies, mainly his interesting well-rounded characters. Tsui Hark’s characters are about as likable as an old rusted toilet, and his movie essentially looks like one too. To say that this movie is dark is an understatement-don’t expect The Swordsmen trilogy. I guess he was trying to gritty and bold (and a lot of this was pretty pointless story wise, besides being atmospheric). Not that I hate movies that concentrate on mood or atmosphere instead of a plot (quite the opposite actually), it’s just that there has to be something there. Staring at a bunch of dirty people, some of who hang naked upside down burnt to crisp, for two hours is not my idea of entertainment. Maybe he (Tsui Hark) should have concentrated on the script.
The one redeeming factor of this movie is the final fight sequence, which is obviously sped up a great deal, but is still interesting and well done. The rest of the fights don’t fare so well-sure, I wanted realistic action, but if it all looks this bad (think the James Bond fight sequences without the guns), I’ll take wire-fu any day.
In conclusion, this movie is very very bad, and I wanted to like it so much. Tsui Hark has never been my favorite director, although I have liked some of this other films (Time and Tide being one of them, a movie that also uses a lot of Wong Kar-wai techniques, but puts them to a better use).
Iuxion’s Rating: 4/10