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TheUtopiaofChineseswordsmen

By Christine Allen,2014-12-15 18:02
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TheUtopiaofChineseswordsmen

Wu Yuanying (Charlie Young) is the only female swordsman

in Seven Swords, who was a man in the original novel

    fter five years away from thethat all of their escape routes are marked distance between its body and its tip, as main marke t of Chines e with signs leading the enemy directly to well as the minute changes in the angle

    movies, as one of the most them. They realise that there must be an and strength of the swordsman's wrist. It's successful Hong Kong direc- undercover spy in their midst; but who is Aunlike any other weapons for which the tors in the last two decades of last century, he? The Seven Swords must identify the destructive force hinges on its weight and Tsui Hark has created a stir with Seven mole before Fire-Wind's army gets to length. The skill of a swordsman is closely Swords both at the box office and in the them, otherwise all will be lost. With so related to his idiosyncrasies, sub-con- public's reaction. many things going wrong, and stuck in a sciousness and training. If the swordsman

    narrow gap between life and death, the In the early 1600s, the Manchu took is open and noble-minded, he will wield

    situation is further complicated by the over control of China and established the a sword like a king. It is for this reason

    emergence of an unexpected and unwel- Qing dynasty (1616-1911). With many the sword is hailed as the lord of Chinese

    come love triangle. pro-nationalist revolts occurring, the weapons,' Tsui Hark presents his idea newly-established government immedi- about the relationship between the swords The movie was adapted from the

    ately imposed a ban on the study and prac- and the swordsmen, on the basis of which wuxia (martial art) novel Seven Swords-

    The Utopia oswordsmef Chines e n

     By Chen Yu tice of martial arts; prohibiting them al- men from Tianshan (Heavenly Mountain) he created those seven extraordinary together in a attempt to gain effective by famous Hong Kong wuxia novelist swords - the Heaven's Fall, the Dragon, control and order. Fire-Wind (Sun Liang Yu Sheng. Tsui Hark has made sub- the Deity, the Unlearnt, the Star Chaser, Honglei), a military official from the pre- stantial changes in the original. He wants the Transience, the Celestial Beam. vious dynasty (Ming, 1368-1644), sees to portray the culture of swordplay, and The Heaven's Fall is made by the this as an opportunity to make a fortune has therefore created seven characteris- Master Shadow-Glow after he sees clouds for himself by helping to implement the tic swords and their users in his movie. in the shape of a waterfall. Its attack is new law. Greedy, cruel and immoral, Each sword bears a different meaning and free-style and follows the mind of the Fire-Wind ravages and rages cross north- each user of them has a distinctive swordsman.

    western China. His ultimate aim is to at- personality. The Dragon is possibly the sharpest tack the final frontier, an intransigent 'A sword is a weapon the slightest sword that ever existed: made from place known as the Martial Village, that motion of which can generate the most cooper, with tinges of red. Its tip is soft is still holding out. destructive force in the shortest period of and can be made to vibrate. The Dragon

    generates a sound when it strikes. The time. A sword is unpredictable due to the Fu Qingzhu (Lau Kar Leung), a re-

    faster it strikes, the louder it sounds. tired executioner from the previous

    The Deity is used by Master Shadow- dynasty, feels a moral obligation to put a

    Glow to break the rocks needed to build stop to this brutality and decides to save

    a new dwelling. Due to limited resources, Martial Village. He convince s Wu

    the sword looks crude and blunt. As sharp Yuanying (Charlie Young) and Han

    as the Dragon, they represent two Zhibang (Lu Yi) from the village to travel

    extremes. with him to the far away and mystical

    Heavenly Mountain to seek help from The Unlearnt is a black sword origi- Master Shadow-Glow (Ma Jingwu), a nally used by Fu Qingzhu. He decided to hermit who is a master swordsman lead- give up it when he retired as a military ing a group of disciples with unimagin- officer of the Ming dynasty. Master able swordsmanship. Master Shadow- Shadow-Glow has collected the Unlearnt Glow agrees to help and orders four of and returns it to Fu when Fu wants to save his best disciples to go. Together with Chu Martial Village, with the words, 'Unlearn Zhaonan (Donnie Yen), Yang Yunchong your past and find the righteous path.' The (Leon Lai), Mu Lang (Duncan Chow), Unlearnt can launch a devastating strike Xin Longzi (Dai Liwu), their heroic jour- by generating a strong stream of air, ney begins. Representing heroism and which becomes even more powerful if goodness at its finest, they come to be there is dust or rain in the air. known as the Seven Swords. Returning Xin Longzi is a man who grew up in to the Martial Village, they decide, for a wolf's lair and his behaviour sometimes safety's sake, to move and lead the entire is more like an animal than a human, es- village to a more secure place. Soon, con- pecially when he gets crazy. In order to fusion reigns as they discover that their contain Xin, Master Shadow-Glow tailor- food and water has been poisoned, and makes the Star Chaser for him. This sword CHINAWEEK

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    few swordsmen among the ordinary is used with both hands. It can be thrown ter of the wuxia film and a legend, Tsui

    people. Most of them came from the army and retrieved, but is held in front of the Hark's Swordsman, New Dragon Inn, and

    and the nobility. It was very rare for the user's chest. When Xin uses it in the nor- Once upon a Time in China created a new

    master swordsmen to compete with each mal way, the sword can help him. But era and standard for the wuxia genre that

    other, because it's very easy to hurt people when he gets crazy, the sword will hit him is still valid until now. In the 1980s, Tsui's

    with a sword. It only took minutes from and his frenzy can be checked. Warriors from the Magic Mountain pushed

    drawing the sword, hitting one's rival to Hong Kong movie stunt standards to the The Transience is the only sword that taking back the sword. The process is highest level in the world. However, in is equal to the Dragon. It is made from a even not as half catchy as it is shown in Seven Swords, Tsui has given up stunts and meteorite and reflects the light from its the movie, in which the two rivals will come back to real fighting. surroundings. Its attack is accompanied fight for about half an hour. by an array of beams of light, which 'Although Tsui Hark has presented a

    makes it very difficult to defend against. fantasy movie about the world of It was also difficult to hear the sound

    The Celestial Beam is a double sword swordsmen, the real lives of Chinese that arose when two swords hit one an- with one long and one short blade, which swordsmen were not that imaginary and other in a real fight because the swords- glows as it strikes and is the brightest very different from the movies and men didn't want their weapons to be sword amongst all. novels,' said Xiong Xinxin, the action damaged. It would take much time and

    choreographer of Seven Swords. effort to re-grind the cut so as to avoid The design of these swords was drawn

    by Tsui Hark himself. Considered the mas- In Chinese history, there were very any distortion of the blade.

    CHINAWEEK

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