Seven Swords (2005)

I've been anxious to see this film. After so many years of disappointing work from this master filmmaker, I was hoping that Tsui Hark could return to the high levels of achievement he'd reached with movies like 1991's Once Upon a Time in China and 1995's The Blade.

I'm happy to report that I'm not disappointed. This is a film of epic grandeur that swept me up in its exciting adventure. The action direction by the 4 masters, Liu Chia-Liang, Stephen Tung Wai, Hung Yan-Yan, and Lau Kar-Wing, is absolutely incredible with one amazing thing after another. The cinematography is so beautiful. Keung Kwok-Man, Herman Yau Lai-To, and Choi Shung-Fai have created some awesome images.

Two odd things struck me about this film. First, the film seems incomplete to me, like there was a four hour film squeezed into 2 hours. Second, the casting of Michael Wong Man Tak in the small role of Fire-Wind's boss puts a tongue-in-cheek, wink and a nod comedic aspect over what, to that point, has been quite dour and serious. Quite disconcerting, it took me out of suspension of disbelief for about a minute.

Copyright © 2006 John Crawford. All rights reserved.