Hung Hsueh (Ti Lung) is a stoic and extremely skilled wandering
swordsman in Chor Yuen's The Magic Blade. Based on
a novel by Gu Long, the film opens with Fu engaged in a showdown
with Yen Nan-Fei (Lo Lieh) over a previously unresolved duel.
Soon, their rivalry is put aside as the warriors of an unseen
evil sorcerer named Yu attack Yen. Fu saves Yen's life and
the two join forces against Master Yu in a race to find the
ultimate weapon: the exploding "peacock dart."
After fighting more killers,
Fu and Yen procure the peacock dart from its keeper. The two
men set off to find the elusive Yu along with the beautiful,
pure-hearted Chiu Yu-Cheng (Cheng Lee). Eventually, Yen is
separated from his companions, leaving Fu to carry the rest
of the film on his broad shoulders. Fu and Chiu also fall
in love, and meet many people along the way who also want
the dart. Their journey is filled with as many plot twists
as wire-flips, and Fu has to use his wits as much as his skills
as a swordsman to complete his quest.
Compared to other Shaw Bros.
classics, The Magic Blade contains more splatter and
nudity. The film is overall very enjoyable and entertaining,
and director Chor Yuen very wisely made sure to include something
for everyone. There's even a quick lesbian scene at Yu's mansion!
The end battle with the as yet unseen Yu in Tien Wai mansion
is also real showstopper. Star Ti Lung proves once and for
all that he doesn't need David Chiang as a co-lead. His physicality
and acting are in top form here.
The production isn't as grand
as some of the older Shaw Bros. pictures, but The Magic
Blade does appear to have had a significant budget with
the sets, costumes, choreography and supporting actors all
being top notch. The music contains cues from the original Planet of the Apes, but they're edited well with The
Magic Blade's original soundtrack. The weapons are some
of the most creative in the genre, with the best being Ti
Lung's sword: a combination of a nightstick and spinning machete.
In this hero's hands, it is definitely "The Magic Blade."