Issue #244        HOME          E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com        BACK ISSUES           December 27th, 2004

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The Golden Sword
(1969; Shaw Brothers)

Cantonese: Lung mun kam gim
Mandarin: Long men jin jian
English: Dragon Palace Golden Sword

 

RATING: 5/10

REVIEW:

Seven years after Golden Sword Lodge chief Bai Chun-tung (Lo Wei, who also directed) disappeared under mysterious circumstances, his son, Bai Yu-long (Kao Yuen), sets out on his own to find him. If three years pass and he has been unsuccessful, Yu-long will concur with Hua Shan chief Ng’s declaration that his father has likely met with some sort of fatal occurrence. Two years later, while travelling through the snowy countryside en route to a small town beyond the frontier, Yu-long encounters filthy beggar Ngai Jin-feng (Cheng Pei-pei). The two strike up a friendship and Yu-long is amazed to learn that the boy possesses great martial skills. He is even more amazed to discover that Jin-feng is also a member of the Beggar Clan and a woman, whose real name is Fung-er. She joins him on his quest and, after a year on the road together, Fung-er accepts his hand in marriage. On the morning after their nuptials, a most unusual "gift" arrives, along with the same two masked riders who appeared right before Chun-tung disappeared a decade earlier. Next thing he knows, Yu-long is an unwilling guest of Dragon Palace, a mystical kingdom where the women are the rulers and martial experts, and men are slaves.

Cheng Pei-pei Kao Yuen Huang Chung-shin

Adapted from a novel by Ngai Hong, this is a lovely looking but rather stodgy effort. Aside from an inspired (but brief) use of split screen, the film is stagy and the choreography rather slow and exaggerated, though still appropriate for the material. As tends to be the case with older features, the women are more resourceful and courageous, and far better fighters, which lends some novelty and adds to the enjoyment of scenes set in Dragon Palace (which includes an underground lair, where male prisoners are forced to perform hard labor by whip-cracking guards). There is also a lively, impromptu song and dance number by the beggars, extolling the joys of their carefree lifestyle. While Kao Yuen is personable and Cheng Pei-pei as winning as ever, the story takes so long to unfold, one’s interest gradually starts to flag. The climactic revelations are well-handled however, and the final sequence is effectively melancholy. Ku Feng also appears (as the leader of some bandits known as The Three Cripples), along with Huang Tsung-hsun, Ku Wen-chung (suitably flamboyant as the leader of the beggars), and Chin Yuet-sang.

Lo Wei Ku Wen-chung Cheng Pei-pei


PRESENTATION:

While not as slick as some of the restorations thus far, the image looks very clean, well-detailed and quite colorful, and the re-mix only adds some largely incidental foley FX. The standard Celestial extras (promo spots, two photo galleries, worthless "production notes," bios/filmographies) are on-hand.

This DVD is available at:

Images in this review courtesy of Intercontinental Video Ltd. To read captions, hover mouse over image.


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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2004. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

DVD Specifications

  • Hong Kong Release
  • NTSC Region 3 Only
  • Intercontinental Video Ltd. #103469
  • Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Post-synced Mandarin Language
  • Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional Chinese
  • 12 Chapters
  • 16:9 Enhanced (2.35:1)
  • 101 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Quebec: G
  • Singapore: PG
  • Contains moderate violence

FILM REVIEW RATINGS KEY:

  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful