Seven Swords (Vietnamese: Thất kiếm hạ thiên sơn) is a Seven Swordsmartial arts film about seven warriors defending the people of a small village from an oppressive emperor.
It all takes place in the 17th century, and the Qing Dynasty have polace a ban on the practice of martial arts among common people. There are massive rewards for the heads of men, women and children – so a warlord nam Fire Wind is out and about to cash in on this in a totally ruthless fashion.
When Fire-Wind’s men are finishing up at a village, they discover one more survivor who fights exceptionally well, trying to defend himself without hurting anyone. He eventually escapes and some men are sent after him. He eventually finds a young girl being attack by one of Fire-Wind’s men and saves her, but is seriously injure. She takes him back to her village to recover.
Once there we learn the man is Fu Qingzhu, a former head choppin’ bad guy who claims to have turn good, saving people to make up for all of the lives he has taken in his life. Not trusting him (after some personal testimony to his cunning), the villagers lock him up to decide his fate. That’s when a young man and young woman free him and head to Mount Heaven seeking help.
The three travellers return with four more, each carrying a sword of their own.
Dragon is a sword being carry by Chu Zhaonan (Donnie Yen), Transience by Yang Yuncong (Leon Lai), Unlearnt by Fu Qingzhu (Lau Kar-Leung), Heaven’s fall by Wu Yuanying (Charlie Leung), Deity by Han Zhibang (Lu Yi), Celestial Beam by Mulang (Duncan Chow) and Star Chasers which is wield by Xin Longzi (play by Tai Li-wu).
These seven warriors arrive in time to save the village form a small attack. Afterwards they plan and work together to remove the threat and save the villagers.
The story of this film is fairly simple and has many smaller subplots between certain characters. But overall it’s a pretty black and white film about seven warriors fighting off an oppressive general and his army.
It seems that in this film the warriors abilities are very much rate by their swords.
That as the swords seem to be the powerful new weapon, not the warriors (at least it seem that way). We meet many of the character sand learn very little about them, and the performances are all pretty spread out so you don’t really get to know much about these people. This kind of removes the connection so you don’t really care as much about what happens.
I think the action shows better than the story is told. The fast pace mix with a bit of tasteful wire work make the fights in this movie not too bad, with the best being save for the finale. Unfortunately the finale itself seems a little anticlimactic and ends too early.
It is still entertaining though and has a fair few nice little sword fights. But as you swap from one character to another in most of them, it’s hard to get it into. Instead a lot of the time there’s just some cool action shots mix in from each character as they all seem to fight at the same time. It would have been hard to really get into one fight in particular at any time. That without setting up the fights to happen between different characters at different times.
Genre: Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By: Hark Tsui
Written By: Hark Tsui, Cheung Chi-Sing, Chun Tin-nam, Hun Tin Naam
On Disc/Streaming: Jan 16, 2007
Runtime: 151 minutes
Studio: Mandarin Films
CRITIC REVIEWS FOR CHAT GIM (THE SEVEN SWORDS)
It’s pretty enough to keep you at least mildly concerned about where things are headed.
The problem is that Seven Swords’ narrative is so cluttered with briefly sketched characters and subplots as to be almost impossible to follow.
What could and should have been great is reduced to the tragically dull. A wasted opportunity of immense proportions.