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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Retro Review: THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN

One Armed Swordsman

Hong Kong cinema is replete with iconic figures. Whether it’s the high-flying swordsmen in numerous wuxia films, the stylish urban killers that populate the bullet-riddled filmographies of John Woo and his heirs, or the various cinematic incarnations of Chinese folk heroes like Wong Fei-Hung and Fong Sai-Yuk, it’s become abundantly clear that Hong Kong filmmakers know a thing or two about creating unforgettable on-screen heroes.

One such hero - perhaps the most iconic - was introduced in the now-classic Shaw Brothers film, One-Armed Swordsman. Spawning two official sequels, a remake by Tsui Hark, a crossover movie with Japan’s blind swordsman Zatoichi, and innumerable imitations and homages, the film has gone on to capture the imagination of fans and filmmakers worldwide. Looking back some thirty-one years later, it’s easy for me to see why. As far removed as One-Armed Swordsman is from our contemporary sensibilities about what film heroes, anti-heroes, and filmmaking in general should be, there remains something undeniably appealing about Jimmy Wang Yu’s single-armed hero, something almost archetypal.

In this Chang Cheh-directed Shaw Brothers classic that made Jimmy Wang Yu a star, a secret kung fu manual gives a disabled martial artist a new lease on life. To learn more about this incredibly fun movie, check out my original LoveHKFilm.com review here.

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