Issue #249a          HOME          E-mail:        BACK ISSUES          January 31st, 2005

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Vengeance is a Golden Blade
(1969; Shaw Brothers)

Cantonese: Fei yin kam do
Mandarin: Fei yan jin dao
English: Flying Swallow Golden Blade


RATING: 6/10


Honest escort company owner Li Zhishan (Tang Ching) must fight for his life when jealous, unscrupulous rivals The Long Brothers (Lee Pang-fei and Chao Hsiung) storm his home one evening. Although outnumbered, Zhishan possesses the invincible Golden Dragon Blade and is able to repel the attackers. However, Zishan’s treacherous wife, Liu Yuexiang (Kao Pao-shu), precipitates his downfall and the blade passes into the Longs’ hands. A loyal servant (Paang Paang) saves both Zishan (now crippled) and his young daughter, Xiaoyan. Aided by elderly (but powerful) herbalist Liu Anzheng (Ku Wen-chung), the fugitives escape the region. The story picks up 18 years later, as Xiaoyan (now played by Chin Ping) is almost forced into a brothel run by Yuexiang, who soon comes to realize that this is the daughter she gave up many years back. Angered by her father’s refusal to divulge the truth, the misguided Xiaoyan agrees to leave and move in with Yuexiang, who seeks to exploit the girl’s beauty. Revenge may still be possible, however, thanks to The Hanglong Blade, a weapon Zhishan has spent years crafting as a defence against the Golden Dragon.

Chin Ping Tang Ching (left), Yueh Hua Kao Pao-shu

A pleasurable swordplay opus, VENGEANCE IS A GOLDEN BLADE does not possess an especially logical narrative (if they have been terrorizing the populace with The Golden Dragon Blade for almost 20 years, why are The Long Brothers not ruling the countryside and why do they seem so reticent about using the sword when significant danger is afoot?), and the events of the climax are needlessly rushed and rather sloppily staged. On the plus side, the story takes several unexpected turns and director Ho Meng-hua elicits fine performances from his players (notably Kao, one of the only women directing martial arts movies during the golden age of the genre, with Taiwanese productions like BLOOD OF THE DRAGON and BANDITS, PROSTITUTES AND SILVER to her credit). Yueh Hua and Wei Ping-ao also appear.

Chin Ping (left), Wei Ping-ao Yueh Hua (left), Chin Ping Chin Ping


The sound engineers supervising the re-mix occasionally go overboard with the insect and atmosphere foley FX, but the audio is otherwise palatable. Visually, the presentation is up to the usual standard for these restorations, with no flaws worth noting. The standard Celestial extras are on-hand.

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

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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2005. All Rights Reserved.

DVD Specifications

  • Hong Kong Release
  • NTSC Region 3 Only
  • Intercontinental Video Ltd. #103667
  • Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Post-synced Mandarin Language
  • Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional Chinese
  • 12 Chapters
  • 16:9 Enhanced (2.35:1)
  • 99 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Not Available
  • Contains moderate violence and brief nudity


  • 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