Notable Cast: David Chiang, Ti Lung, Ching Lee, Ku Feng, Chen Sing, Cheng Lei, Wang Chung
With two successful One-Armed Swordsman entries under his belt already, it would seem only smart to keep the ‘franchise’ going even if the Shaw Brothers were not always franchise oriented. So here comes Chang Cheh to revitalize the idea with the third entry, which in this day and age would have been called a reboot, with The New One-Armed Swordsman. This time around he calls upon his own ‘deadly duo’ to lead the film with David Chiang taking the titular role and Ti Lung in a meaty secondary role. Oddly enough, despite being a whole new story using some of the same concepts from the first two, The New One-Armed Swordsman is just as good as the original with strong characters, great dramatic moments, and a memorable finale. This series just keeps kicking ass.
Li Lei (David Chiang) displays his arrogance and skills in grandiose ways by using his twin sword technique to battle off robbers and general evildoers. When an evil villain, whom loves to stomp on upcoming martial arts heroes, beats him in a match, Li Lei is forced to cut off his own arm in disgrace and goes to live the rest of his days as a waiter in a small restaurant. There he meets another young hero (Ti Lung) who seems to be walking into the villains’ trap. Will he take up the blade once more to stop the evil lord once and for all?
|"Oh yes. It cost me an arm, but not a leg."|
From there Chang Cheh continues to create depth for the film with its simple, but well written and paced plot. Sure the ‘fallen hero must take revenge on those who continue to bully’ isn’t the most original concept and the Shaw Brothers certainly wore it thin, but it works here. Chang Cheh is a great director who can blend serious concepts with occasional gimmicks (including the juggling aspect of this film and how that evolves to be a large portion of the film) and slathers it in some great action set pieces. While the film is full of fun bits of choreography with those brutal moments of violence that Chang Cheh is known for – you get to see a man chopped in half in mid air! – the finale is something to be admired. A massive bridge becomes a graveyard as our hero goes to face his nemesis and the combination of weapon work and some hand to hand combat flows damn near perfectly for the last act.
|"Shave. Free of charge."|
Written By Matt Reifschneider