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Soul of the Haunted Swordsman!
on December 27, 2010
Soul of the Sword was an interesting film that revolves around the aspirations of a young Swordsman.
The film starts when a young swordsman challeges the emperors lead instructor,the King of Swords to a duel. His hope is to defeat the King of Swords so he can take the title for himself. However, he makes a calculated error when doing so. He brings the woman he loves along with him and loses the duel. As a result, he is killed and his lover also commits suicide once the duel is over. It is thought that he lost mainly because he was distracted by his woman during the duel, which broke his concentration.
As the duel was occuring however, a young boy happens to watch the whole thing. He decides that he will grow up one day to challenge and defeat the King of Swords himslef so he can claim the title. Ten plus years go by and he becomes an adult with suberb sword skills. Then he goes around as the nameless swordsman, creating a reputation for himself as he defeats other well known swordsmen. At the same time he is haunted by the image of the young woman who committed suicide after the duel. He shrugs it off at first until he meets a young lady who looks exaclty like the woman that has been haunting him. He eventually falls for her, but continues to make plans to fight the King of Swords. However, he obtains a friend that warns him that his duel will not go well if he continues to have a hinderance in his life, like the young man did from several years before. The nameless swordsman eventually understands that his new found love will become his distraction as well, so he takes matters to correct it.
Eventually he comes to the duel with the King of Swords, but things don't turn out the way he expected, and he soon regrets some of the decissions he made to get to that point. I don't want to spoil the film for you so I'll leave the rest for you to see on your own.
Well this was a film that actually had a decent plot. It wasn't a Kung Fu film though, it was more of a swordplay film, however their were a few moments where kung fu was used. The sword fights were not the best I've seen, but for a Shaw film, I would say this stands out as one of their better story telling pieces. It may also have implied that the eastern idea of reincarnation was used, but really the ages of the new swordsman and woman wouldn't have fit within the timeline of the film, so it was probably just supposed to be a coincidence. But the ghost of the slain lover does appear to nameless more than once and adds some mystery to the film which keeps you guessing for awhile.
As far as the tech aspects go, the film is in widescreen and is remastered so the image is crisp and clear. The film offers the original madrian soundtrack with english subtitles and an English dubbed track. The dub sounds newer to me though. Not like the voices we are used to from films of this time period when they were dubbed in English. The voice actors actually sound pretty good in English, but the lip syching seemed to be ignored to some degree. For example, the charcters would say lines in English sometimes, but their mouths would continue to move for another phrase or two. It didn't bother me that much, but I know some of you would rather watch it in Mandrain anyway, so you also have that option.
I will also point out that this film did involve a slight ammont of nudity. It wasn't extreme, but never the less it was there in about two parts of the film. Their were also a few bedroom scenes and one point where an old man tells a dirty story. I found that to be a little odd, but this wasn't a typical run of the mill shaw kung fu flick anyway, so I overlooked it.
Overall I gave the film a four because it had a good story line and a decent transfer. I also liked the slight mystery involved and the idea of the ghost from the past haunting nameless. She was either a warning or a foreshadowing of what was to come, I'm not sure which. A good Shaw film for storytelling. Maybe not as exciting on the action level but still enough to satisfy the purpose of the film. It's worth a rental if not a purchase if you like Shaw Bothers films.