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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > The Magic Blade (1976/Image Entertainment DVD/Shaw Brothers Collection)

The Magic Blade (1976/Image Entertainment DVD/Shaw Brothers Collection)


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: C+     Film: C+



Of the many period costume films in the 1970s Marital Arts Cycle, Chu Yuan’s The Magic Blade (1976/Hong Kong) may not have the most original story, but its energy, humor, actors and fight scenes make it distinctive among the many films that have followed since.  Humor is minimal and not stupid slapstick, while the choreography does not seem as phony and pretentious as most of what we are getting lately.


Lo Lieh of the classic Five Fingers Of Death (aka King Boxer, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and Ti Lung (A Better Tomorrow) play rivals who find themselves in a crazy plot of revenge, betrayal and all kinds of surprise attacks, but have a few of their own.  Over 30 years old, it embarrasses so many of today’s imitators and is non-stop in its execution.  The stars are at their prime and if I had to make a list of must-see films in the genre, it would have to be included.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is from a restored source and has good color, but there is still more softness than one might want and a comparison to the inevitable Blu-ray disc will be interesting.  In ShawScope, this is one of the many Shaw Brothers films recently fixed up.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono in either mandarin or English dub is on the weak side, which is oddest with the English version.  Maybe they should have redubbed, or is this recent?  Extras include several dozen trailers for other Shaw releases and more than we have seen on any DVDs in a long time.



-     Nicholas Sheffo


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