Sunday, 2 September 2007

The Legend of the Swordsman (1992)

This is the 2nd instalment of The Swordsman Trilogy.

If you're brand new to wuxia genre (where have you been?), or had been only exposed to the old-school wuxia (you're showing your age), you would find the prequel The Swordsman (1990) a bit over the top. It's actually only served as appetiser for this instalment where its wushu action takes on even more fantastic proportion. And it isn't just the martial arts, but the characters and plots as well. It's blurring the line between fantasy and wuxia. Get ready for a wild dizzying ride on the weird and wonderful world of Chinese Wuxia.

Most of the characters of the Sun-Moon Holy Cult (日月神教), and the Huashan Sect (華山派) from the prequel remain the same. Many of these  characters were being played by different actors, however.

Since the lead of Ling Wu Chung, whom was played by Sam Hui that raised some controversy is being replaced by Jet Li in this sequel. You could therefore expect lots more wushu actions than its prequel. Since Jet Li doesn't sing, the theme song was sung by somebody else, he just pretends to pluck his Chinese lute merrily.

While the eunuchs of the East Depot (東廠) play a minor role in this sequel, another faction of power, the Japanese Woko (or pirates) is involved in the story. For those who feel sorrow/sorry for the parting of the crafty eunuchs in this sequel, fear not, Dongfan Dubai (東方不敗 East the Invincible) is a castrate who will keep the audience happy by preventing the disappearance of men with disappeared nuts (they keep their precious private bits in bamboo tubes to be buried when they die instead of toss it to the cats).

Who's better to play Dongfan Bubai than the most notable of Chinese hermaphroditic beauty Brigette Lin, who's not only played quite a number of sexual ambiguous roles, but quite experienced in the wuxia genre?

Louis Cha created many colourful characters in his many wuxia novels, but the word 'colourful' wouldn't quite cut it when it comes to describe Dongfan Bubai. Weird and wonderful should do it.

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