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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.


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 review here.

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