Against the wife’s wishes, I stayed up late to watch Tsui Hark’s Seven Swords DVD last night. I haven’t finished the movie, but I have no idea why movie reviewers didn’t like it.
One’s gotta understand that TH has been making swordfighting movies for decades and he’s been trying hard to push the limits of storytelling. He packs hell of a lot into the 90min I’ve watched so far.
So what makes a good movie story?
One that is deep? One that is multilayered? Or one that is just simple and straightforward?
All of the above, depending on the type of story lah. Seven Swords is not intellectual, but it brings together the best elements of the genre – mysticism, invincible but fallible warriors, strong brotherhood ties, chivalry, male-bonding, butt-ugly villains and a few hot chicks (even the aged Charlie Young looks good man, though I wonder how come they had professionally highlighted tresses in 1600).
Swordfighting films that attempt to be intellectual often fall flat (see Zhang Yimou’s Hero) because that’s not what the audience wants to see.
We want blood! We want gore and we want lots of chopsocky action with seriously cool jue-jao (secret moves)!
Using those criteria, Seven Swords is an instant classic. And it’s got the One-Armed Swordsman okay.