Tsui Take Two

22 May

Ready for more martial arts? Good, onwards!

In Zu Warriorrs from the Magic Mountain (1983) Tsui Hark attempts to combine Cantonese action cinema and Asian martial arts with Western visual effects- and pulls it off with masterful skill. Using many members of the crew from the first Star Wars film, Tsui guides the audience through the life of soldier Biao Yuen who must find twin swords in order to stop the land from being ruled by a relentless evil force. A reworking of the Shu Shan series by Wuxia fiction writer Huanzhu Louzhu, Tsui yet again takes the viewer through a bold and bright world of martial arts.

And then, The Blade, Tsui’s 1995 feature that continues his use of martial arts, dark tones, exploitive elements, and close up and frantic camerawork. Here we have a love trilogy narrated by Ling whose father runs a blade factory where On and Iron Head- Ling’s to love interests- work. After On’s father is killed by a man who can fly On seeks revenge, though he loses his arm and is forced to leave his town. Faced with the frustration of his new life of working in a diner On is continually given opportunities to avenge his father but cannot do so without Ling and Iron Head.

Highlighted by both Stephen Teo and David Bordwell as a cannon to Hong Kong cinema and wuxia filmmaking, The Blade is a remarkable display of the development of Tsui’s technical and narrative ideas across his career.

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