The Blade
HONG KONG CLASSICS / MIA
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Tsui Hark
Year:
1995
Run Time:
105mins
Producer: Hong Kong Classics / M.I.A
_---
--
Languages:
CANTONESE 2.0
Subtitles:
Non-Removable English
W/S Subtitles:
No
Ratio:
2.35:1 Non Anamorphic
Region:
PAL 2
Genre:
Swordplay - 18 (UK)
--
MOVIE
3/10

Before viewing this 1995 release, I had high hopes. A film which , it was said, "redefined the swordplay genre", and featured "exhilarating swordplay", had just been released onto DVD. So I eagerly rented this out, looking forward to being thoroughly entertained...
Now, I can't recall he last time I sat through a Chinese movie, wishing it would end and constantly peering at my watch, but unfortunately this was one of them...
'Style over content' was the first description that sprung to mind whilst watching this Tsui Hark directed swordplay "epic", and one which I stand by.

The plot, based on the classic One Armed Swordsman, follows On (Chiu Man Cheuk), an orphan who begins studying swordplay to avenge his Fathers death, after losing his arm in a battle with a group of bandits. I won't bother detailing the nuances of the plot, partly due to its complexity, but also because I found it difficult to concentrate - Tsui Hark's constant yearning to appear groundbreaking, quickly made me lose patience, and interest.
The director's vision of "groundbreaking" included poorly developed characters, ridiculous fight scenes, nauseating camerawork and possibly one of the most unappealing female leads ever to grace a Hong Kong screen.
The action sequences are easily the most irritating aspect, featuring over-cranking and continual jump-cutting. This results in a muddled, unskilled and, most importantly, uninvolving mess...

PICTURE
2/10

The laughable picture quality varies between average and very poor, with many scenes looking no better than a second generation VHS copy.
Colours bleed (especially reds), blacks are muddy and reveal artifacts, and the overall detail is very soft. Some scenes are so poor it was difficult to tell what's on-screen.

SOUND
6/10

A reasonable soundtrack, containing little separation and a rather bland tone, lacking bass and therefore losing most of the impact it should convey.

SUBTITLES
7/10

Possibly the only (slightly) redeeming feature of this dreadful disc, the subs. have been remastered and are very well translated. However, as they're non-removable, watching on a Widescreen T.V. will result in them being cut off.

EXTRAS
1/10

Theatrical trailer - Wow!?!

CONCLUSION
3/10

Some films, no matter how bad, can still be reasonably enjoyable if they have received a top class DVD transfer (Godzilla for instance), M.I.A.'s presentation, however, is the final nail in the coffin for this pretentious piece of rubbish.
This is one "Hong Kong Classic" whose Blade is not nearly sharp enough to warrant a viewing, let alone a purchase...

MOVIE 3/10
PICTURE
2/10
SOUND
6/10
SUBTITLES
7/10
EXTRAS
1/10
MENUS
5/10
PACKAGING
6/10
OVERALL 310