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Old 09-13-2011, 06:06 AM   #11
BaronK
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Looks like another heavy handed mainland film. Somber, bleak looking, sad, but a film, not a martial picture or flick. Don't look for Legend Of A Fox or anything here. Its story and character and not action or choreography.
Looks good visually and feels japanese in style. That was mentioned in the review. Action looks 70s japanese sword style as well as interpretive rather that peking opera choreography style. Can't say I have any interest in it but nothing these days has anything for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWeVE7iytl8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qil36xpsKE
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:11 PM   #12
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Saw this the other day at the HK & Asian Film Festival and it’s the sort of film that’s probably best classified as a meticulously composed Jiang Hu stageplay. Artfully shot in what looks like an old, unrestored water town and using a variety of interesting camera angles to good effect, the whole movie comes across as quite theatrical and stagy. Lots of demonstrational sword moves, Chanbara-like freeze-falls, stony faces, long, suspenseful silences, terse, poetically charged revelations that slowly sketch out the background story, y’all get my drift.

Midway through things gets a tad too grotesque and farcical and you’re almost thinking that this is going to be a deconstruction or a travesty of the wuxia genre. Director Xu Haofeng, himself a novelist, MA practitioner and film crit according to the festival catalogue (he wrote the script for Wong Kar Wei’s eternally-in-progress-work THE GRANDMASTERS) basically tells the age-old tale of a cocky young swordslinger, his unmatchable sword and that one deadly, lightning-fast move that can take out any opponent (meaning the fight action you do see sometimes only lasts milli-seconds. There were some quite spectacular knock-outs where I wished they had a slo-mo repeat button installed on the armrests of the comfy leather seats of the IFC mall theatre in Central!).

Song Yang gives a remarkable debut performance as the stoic and mysterious young swordsman / challenger who’s mistakenly taken for a Japanese pirate and white-bearded Sifu Yue Sing-Wai (he was in the original SHAOLIN TEMPLE and in LKL’s SHAOLIN MARTIAL ARTS) simply owned this flick, performing his incredibly fluent sword moves like he was… well, on a theatre stage.
There’s no wirework, no (overtly visible) CGI, no gore. An austere, highly aestheticised, artistically satisfying but emotionally sometimes strangely uninvolving reading of wuxia conventions.

Last edited by Sheng; 11-11-2011 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:08 PM   #13
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I would love to see this film. It's a shame theres no English friendly Blu-ray out.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Sheng View Post
Saw this the other day at the HK & Asian Film Festival and itís the sort of film thatís probably best classified as a meticulously composed Jiang Hu stageplay. Artfully shot in what looks like an old, unrestored water town and using a variety of interesting camera angles to good effect, the whole movie comes across as quite theatrical and stagy. Lots of demonstrational sword moves, Chanbara-like freeze-falls, stony faces, long, suspenseful silences, terse, poetically charged revelations that slowly sketch out the background story, yíall get my drift.

Midway through things gets a tad too grotesque and farcical and youíre almost thinking that this is going to be a deconstruction or a travesty of the wuxia genre. Director Xu Haofeng, himself a novelist, MA practitioner and film crit according to the festival catalogue (he wrote the script for Wong Kar Weiís eternally-in-progress-work THE GRANDMASTERS) basically tells the age-old tale of a cocky young swordslinger, his unmatchable sword and that one deadly, lightning-fast move that can take out any opponent (meaning the fight action you do see sometimes only lasts milli-seconds. There were some quite spectacular knock-outs where I wished they had a slo-mo repeat button installed on the armrests of the comfy leather seats of the IFC mall theatre in Central!).

Song Yang gives a remarkable debut performance as the stoic and mysterious young swordsman / challenger whoís mistakenly taken for a Japanese pirate and white-bearded Sifu Yue Sing-Wai (he was in the original SHAOLIN TEMPLE and in LKLís SHAOLIN MARTIAL ARTS) simply owned this flick, performing his incredibly fluent sword moves like he wasÖ well, on a theatre stage.
Thereís no wirework, no (overtly visible) CGI, no gore. An austere, highly aestheticised, artistically satisfying but emotionally sometimes strangely uninvolving reading of wuxia conventions.
Wow Sheng, you nailed it. You really put this film into descriptive words perfectly. It's a strange one. Though I loved watching Sifu Yue Sing-Wai, I kept thinking that the really deep, true meaning of certain things was going to eventually be revealed, but then... nothing. Don't get me wrong- there are some wonderful themes and revelations/observations within the story. But it felt like the film was a big, grand sweeping gesture to... not a whole lot. Much ado about nothing... I was left feeling a bit empty afterwards, despite the fact that it seemed at the start to be something that would be profoundly filling.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:50 PM   #15
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Just had my DVD ordered on Chinese Amazon, Bob. Meaning there are elements here that I feel worthy of studying longer (and in slo-mo), so therefore I decided I should own this film despite my reservations...
As I tried to explain, esthetically this is an accomplished film. Now, I love sword posing almost as much as sword fighting. You get my drift when you think of the picture perfect swordsman postures in Patrick Tam’s THE SWORD, in Ching Siu Tung’s DUEL TO THE DEATH, in Joseph Kuo’s SWORDSMAN OF ALL SWORDSMEN or in a slew of Chor Yuan wuxia readings. Those sequences alone can give me chills, honestly. And at least in this respect I didn’t feel shortchanged by SWORD IDENTITY. But then, after the pose there’s the lightning-fast strike, the fall and... finito! Still, the austerity at display is not without merits, but the execution is so mercilessly meticulous and over-stylised that emotional involvement with the plot or the characters is difficult to develop.

BTW, I’m as much in awe of Yue Sing Wai as you are. The man is the epitome of charisma and I honestly don’t think that his swordskills have ever been matched by any other screenfighter, active, retired or dead!
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:31 AM   #16
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Just had my DVD ordered on Chinese Amazon, Bob. Meaning there are elements here that I feel worthy of studying longer (and in slo-mo), so therefore I decided I should own this film despite my reservations...
I get it.

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As I tried to explain, esthetically this is an accomplished film. Now, I love sword posing almost as much as sword fighting. You get my drift when you think of the picture perfect swordsman postures in Patrick Tamís THE SWORD, in Ching Siu Tungís DUEL TO THE DEATH, in Joseph Kuoís SWORDSMAN OF ALL SWORDSMEN or in a slew of Chor Yuan wuxia readings. Those sequences alone can give me chills, honestly. And at least in this respect I didnít feel shortchanged by SWORD IDENTITY. But then, after the pose thereís the lightning-fast strike, the fall and... finito! Still, the austerity at display is not without merits, but the execution is so mercilessly meticulous and over-stylised that emotional involvement with the plot or the characters is difficult to develop.
Yeah, I'm feeling that too. But it was nearly all foreplay, then out the door without even a kiss goodnight.

One of my forum friends (who shall go unnamed- YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! ) PM'ed me, busting my balls about what I wrote here. Basically he said "What's with all your poetic crying? If there's great action, who cares about the deeper stuff?". The thing is, if the filmmaker is going to take a high falutin' stance on the subject, which is the case with THE SWORD IDENTITY, then he'd better deliver the goods in a very deep way. If I'm watching a basher I don't expect anything but bashing. But if it's a basher where no one gets hit... then we've got a problem. Know what I mean?

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BTW, Iím as much in awe of Yue Sing Wai as you are. The man is the epitome of charisma and I honestly donít think that his swordskills have ever been matched by any other screenfighter, active, retired or dead!
I think that when he goes up against Jet Li and Yu Hai's mantis fists at the climax of MARTIAL ARTS OF SHAOLIN (1986), it's one of the coolest end fights ever!
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:07 AM   #17
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I second SHENG's review a 100%, I didnt mind the arty-farty-ness of it, but was left empty after the movie, seeing its great potential and its many shortcomings. When I do not identify with any of the characters apart form the wheel-barrow resting master, that is usually a bad sign for the grippiness of the movie.
Aesthetically and cinematically this is eye orgasm but the plot really did not live up to my explanation.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:16 PM   #18
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Here is a funny video from the movie I came across on youtube. It is funnier if you understand Filipino though.

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Old 01-13-2013, 11:29 AM   #19
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Here is a funny video from the movie I came across on youtube. It is funnier if you understand Filipino though.

BOOM!!!!!!
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