Sword Master review by Bobby Blakey
Well Go USA is known for the awesome martial arts epics that they bring to the US from the Asian film market. Their latest getting a limited theatrical release is the wuxia epic Sword Master starring Kenny Lin, Peter Ho, Jiang Mengjie and Jiang Yiyan with star of the original film “Death Duel” Derek Yee directing and the legendary Tsui Hark producing, but does it offer up the action the title promises or is it a duel not worth witnessing?
Sword Master follows a powerful swordsman who is haunted by the destructive impact his deadly talents have on others. Weary of the bloodshed and violence from the martial arts world, he banishes himself to the humble life a vagrant, wandering the fringes of society. But his violent past refuses to let him go quietly. The master swordsman must regain the ability to wield his sword and fight those disrupting the peace he so desperately craves. From the moment this film opens it lives up to the title It sport with some excellent martial arts action. A lot of films like this tend to offer up great action, but drag in between but this one delivers in every frame. The story is excellent for the genre and offers up a classic feel that harkens back to the martial arts films of the 70s that were so great.
The cast are great with each of them bringing their own depth to their roles whether it be that of anguish or despair, they all deliver. While I loved the story and its execution it all hinges on the martial arts action and sword play delivering to really do it justice. There are a ton of great fights here that don’t just rely on the wire work, but also the skill of those in on the action. The billowing wardrobe along with the beautiful dance of death in the action makes for action that is truly a marvel to watch. No it isn’t the uber violent realistic style that most crave today, but instead it showcases a ballet of blades that is filled with elegance and death that takes a true master to execute. Visually it is stunning with some great uses of colors to separate the clans, which offers a great contrast during the action.
As a martial artist and fan of the genre I loved this film on every level and knowing that this film is based on the film “Death Duel” that launched Derek Yee’s career with him no in the director’s chair makes it all the better. There are some scenes that are a bit off as you can tell they were shot for 3D it appears, but they never over shadow what is truly the focus and that is the sweeping sword play that lives up to the title Sword Master.
Be there for the masterful sword play when Sword Master comes to Blu-ray and DVD on April 11th from Well Go USA.