22 August 2016 | MartinHafer
A one-armed swordsman movie, not THE one-armed swordsman.
It's very confusing. Director Che Chang made a series of five films which starred Yu Wang as the One-Armed Swordsman. However, Chang ALSO made some other films with the phrase 'One-Armed Swordsman' in the title...but not the same guy! In this case, the great martial arts actor David Chiang stars as Lei Li...A One-Armed Swordsman! Confused? I sure know I was! It is possible that the titles I am talking about are only the English language titles...but they do involve a hero who is missing an arm. My assumption is that the franchise was so successful that Chang decided to put out as many one-armed films as possible! Oddly, however, this is the only one- armed film with Lei Li.
By the way, the version of this I was was the American dubbed one. Because of this, it might have been edited heavily...I have no idea but this often is the case with martial arts films. It is a Shaw Brothers film...which generally is a VERY good thing, as they tended to make some of the best martial arts film of the era.
When this film begins, we can see that Lei Li is kind of stupid...at least when it comes to losing his arm. He's attacked by some jerks and he defeats them. When their master comes along and confronts Lei Li for this, Lei Li challenges him to a duel--and the loser promises to give up an arm!!! Naturally the master wins and he's decent about it...telling Lei Li to forget about the bet. But Lei Li is an idiot and soon lops off his arm in a memorable (and silly) scene! This is how this one-armed dude came to be in this film. Unfortunately, after this, Lei Li is pretty defenseless....or so he thinks. Jerks come to town and bully the crap out of him...simply because everyone sees him as a useless one-armed guy...and he is during much of the film. What happens next to make him go from a one-armed loser to a one-armed hero? See the film and find out for yourself.
This is clearly a better than average martial arts film. Even with the celery-crunching sound effects and silly dubbing (typical of most films in the genre), the fighting scenes are better than usual and the story a bit different from other one-armed films. Oddly, however, they did no follow-up films with Lei Li...and I would have enjoyed this.