Martial Arts Comedy! Legend of the Liquid Sword [1993]
Producer: Wong Jing
Directors: Wong Jing, Yeung Wai Yip
Screenplay: Fong Sai Yin
Action Director: Lau Shung Wa
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Chingmy Yau Suk Ching, Sharla Cheung Man, Gloria Yip

1993 was a very good year for producer/director Wong Jing. Legend of the Liquid Sword is the first of four kung fu fantasy films made by Wong that year. Released in March, this is the first part of a trilogy that continues with Holy Weapon in June and concludes with Kung Fu Cult Master in December. The fourth film, released in April, is Last Hero in China starring Jet Li with action directed by Yuen Woo Ping.

Legend Of the Liquid Sword is a light hearted, yet furious, fantasy fu film filled with flying people and strange imagery. Aaron Kwok plays Chu, a top swordsman, who is pitted against another top swordsman named Flowerless. Played by Chingmy Yau who was Wong Jing's girlfriend at the time, Ms. Yau also plays the role of Night Bloom, who is Flowerless' sister. Of course, Chu and Night Bloom/Flowerless fall in love while trying to defeat the evil, bloodsucking Batman [I'm not making this up!] who has stolen the Sacred Water from Jellyfish, the Master of Water, played by Sharla Cheung Man. The Sacred Water is the liquid sword of the title, a special effect which is something like silver paint that explodes after being thrown or splashed on an enemy.

The martial arts segments, shot on a grand scale, are amazing. The sequence where Chu and his 3 sisters meet Flowerless for the first time is a visual tour-de-force. This film also has equal parts of that trademark Wong Jing humor about love and sex. The problem is two-fold. First, the humor doesn't translate well to the subtitles. Second, much of the comedy involves actress's who have horrible, shrill voices. I think that's supposed to be the funny part but it wears this viewer down. Look for Lee Siu Kei in a small role as a nasty guy with an eye patch in the brothel scene.

Legend of the Liquid Sword has an abrupt and ambiguous ending, a precursor to the controversial ending of Kung Fu Cult Master. The final scene leaves open the chance of a sequel continuing the saga of Chu and his lover. This is the weakest of the trilogy for me. Move on to Holy Weapon.

copyright 2000 J. Crawford

horrible, shrill voices!
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