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  • Although a kung fu classic, this film lacks a certain grace in its fight sequences. This might be partly due to the fact that every single character seems to have one arm. Indeed a new DVD release includes an extra previously cut fight scene which raises the number of one armed swordsmen to 7, effortlessly setting a new standard for the one armed genre.

    The real pleasure of this film is its labyrinthine plot. This film employs a Chinese box structure, steadily expanding its scope and the importance of the action. In layman's terms, this film has the two most improbable plot twists of any kung fu movie i have ever seen. Watch and shake your head in disbelief, then laugh, then watch it again.
  • It was my dad who remembered this film about a one-armed swordsman back in the 70s. He has never seen it since, but recently it was released on DVD. Now one of the most hard-to-find films is easier to buy :)

    The One-Armed Swordsmen starts with the evil villian Brother Dragon attacking a swordsman, cutting off one of his arms. Before Dragon can finish him, his arm is kindly removed by another swordsman and runs away, never to be seen... however, when a little girl's teacher is killed by a one-armed swordsman right in front of her eyes, suspicion is raised among all one-armed swordsmen that pass by the village.

    If you love these kind of films, it's worth a look. The story is clever with some nice twists, and though you can guess who the murderer is near the end of the film the way in which he operated is still mysterious. It also has plenty of fight scenes which are fun to watch (as always).
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Now, before we start, I must stress that if you want to enjoy this film in any way, it is an absolute prerequisite that you are a kung fu movie aficionado! Otherwise you will dismiss it as crap and the film's novelty will be wasted on you. This movie is awesome! There are so many factors that combine to make the movie an enjoyable watch. the plot itself seems simple enough: who is the mysterious one armed bandit killer? Just look for the guy with one arm, right? Wrong! The countryside SWARMS with one armed men (OK, there's only four, but all in the same town at the same time! What are the odds?)and better yet they're all first class fighters! And so, through a process of elimination (and fighting!) and detective work by one of the one armed men accused of murder, we find out who the villain is!!! Some great fight scenes here, especially in the pub where two one armed guys take on a marauding horde of barbarians (one looks like he was dressed by the Flintstones!) In my humble opinion this film is better than its sequel, THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN vs MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE.

    As I commented earlier fans of kung fu will enjoy this flick, so get some mates together, sit back, crack open a cold one, spark one up, relax and enjoy the madness!
  • I love the implausibility in the set-up of THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMEN, yet another 'one armed' movie starring Jimmy Wang Yu (and fellow Shaw Brothers star David Chiang, too, for good measure!). You see, in this film there are no less than FOUR one-armed fighters who just so happen to be living and congregating around some small village in rural China. Now, what are the chances of that? The film itself is an elaborate and old-fashioned romp that attempts to recapture some of the old Shaw magic, although given that it was made on a lower budget in Taiwan, it's not quite the same. Wang Yu seems to have made a career of playing one-armed guys although his character in this one is fairly ordinary and outshone by the other principal actors: David Chiang as a cheeky and enigmatic rival, and Lo Lieh as a man hiding secrets.

    The action isn't quite as plentiful as you'd expect from a Wang Yu film, although the bits that do take place are well staged (the cliff top fight in silhouette is a nice touch). The story begins with a chest full of costume jewellery being attacked by bandits and the guards massacred; following this, there's an outlandish moment in which a teacher is murdered by some bizarre wooden men. The plot then consolidates into a whodunit with the requisite twists and turns, although the identity of the murderer isn't tough to guess. There are not one but two interludes in restaurants in which characters attempting to wine and dine are set upon by thugs, dressed as cave men in one inexplicable touch. The choreography is basic but enlivened by brief blood-spraying gore. The buddy humour between Wang Yu and Chiang sees it through, and the western-style music adds to the fun.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Despite a meandering plot there is a lot to like about this film. First, you have the great Wang Yu and David Chiang (who also co-directed) as the leads and they are excellent as usual. Wang's intense performance contrasts well with Chiang's more laid back performance. David Chiang always had a winning smile. Second, there are the fight sequences. One in a tavern that is exciting and hilarious. That must have been great fun for the stars to film. Another fight partly takes place in a chicken house with hens in abundance flying around. Third, the good supporting cast including the always welcome Lo Lieh.

    When you have several one-armed swordsmen the plot does get complicated and when a man with one arm turns out to have two and a man with two arms turns out to have one it almost becomes farcical. But the energy of the performers and Fu Liang Chou's music score drive things along.

    The copy I saw was only cropped and the print quality poor but even so you could still enjoy the film. A full screen good quality version would be even better though to see Wang and Chiang in entertaining action.
  • The grammar on the back of the Vengeance Video DVD release is enough to make you think twice about watching this later entry into the One-armed swordplay genre, but for fans of chop-socky classics, it is worth the watch!

    While not perfect in any sense, the sheer value entertainment of its two main stars (and directors) should be enough confirmation that you'll have fun. Its rare that a Jimmy Wang Yu film will bore you, even more so when the guy is only sporting one arm. And then there is the charm and on-screen charisma of the new one armed swordsman, David Chaing who is always a treat to watch.

    This is one film I'd love to have been in the production meetings for... With our directors/leads joining forces to create Wang Chaing Film Company (which no doubt only lasted the stretch of this production), the conversations on who was going to hit the screen first, carry the film, stand on the left or right, and ultimately, win the final battle - must have been interesting to say the least..!

    Unfortunately this DVD print could have done with a bit of a clean up. Opening for the first minute or two in glorious letterbox widescreen, the film suddenly jumps to full screen with some dodgy grain and framing around the edges. Thankfully, things get going pretty quick which helps distract from the bad quality although does make me want to see a cleaned up HD version of it.

    With some extra star-power in the shape of Lo Lieh and Chang Yi who fleet in and out throughout, and a couple of crazy plot twists, most of the story focuses on Jimmy Wang Yu's character following on from his story in the awesome Return Of The One Armed Swordsman. Teaming up with the always smirking David Chaing in a bid to find a one armed killer. This results in a few highlights, such as a crazy teahouse fight, Wang versus Chaing on a cliff top, and the latter taking on Lo Lieh. And that's all before the big final fight of course!

    Obviously, when it comes to the fight scenes, its David Chaing that shines best. Wang Yu has always had a certain stiffness to his moves, offering somewhat of a raw approach in his hits. This is usually aided by lots of jumping about and somersaulting, but after years of watching him fight like this, you just expect it and it seems to work. David Chaing on the other hand who is a trained kung fu fighter, adds a bit more grace to his fights, with better kicks and stances overall as well as bringing his sword-of-fury technique he learnt in New One Armed Swordsman.

    Ultimately it is Jimmy Wang Yu that wins my imaginary production meeting discussion, taking on the main bad guy alone who they find hiding in Shaolin Temple. Its a pretty good closing fight, with most of it taking place in a chicken house... While not the strongest of the vast collection of One Armed Swordsmen movies, I guess we could say this plays out like a traditional Chinese version of Sherlock Holmes. With Wang Yu as the Holmes character (which would also explain him getting the last fight alone), David Chaing most definitely is Watson - stealing a lot of the scenes he's in, and proving to be the better person at the end of the day.

    Overall: The One Armed Swordsmen isn't perfect, but it is a lot of fun and worth a spot in the collection!

    DVD Extras: Bonus fight scene (featuring David Chaing).
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Our story begins with a one-armed masked man making short work of a group of martial artists before making like horse s--- and hitting the dusty trail. The local villagers begin to speculate as to just WHO this mysterious, one-armed bandit might be. Coincidentally, there happen to be about half a dozen suspects in the vicinity. That's right: almost every other character in THE ONE-ARMED SWORDSMEN has a missing limb. Suspicion falls on both Li (David Chiang) and Fang (Wang Yu), who each suspect the other. When a group of "barbarians" using huge spiked clubs attack the pair in a tavern, our heroes manage to dispense with them between sips of tea from teapots- which they use to toast one another both during and AFTER the fight. And, lest you think he's been forgotten in the mayhem, Lo Lieh as yet ANOTHER one-armed swordsman plays a pivotal role at the end (and he has an unsurprising surprise up his sleeve). There's a scene early in the movie involving some wooden men that come to life; it's the kind of thing we've come to expect from a Wang Yu-directed movie (though co-director David Chiang might've had a say in it as well). A fun but minor romp.
  • I rented a copy of this one from Netflix -- big mistake. The DVD version titled "The One-Armed Swordsmen" was produced by madmen who thought that the fighting sequences would be appreciated better pasted all together in one big chapter than as part of a consistent, sequential story. Some of the story was left in separate chapters, which you can select from the main menu, but the DVD is still a mess. Don't rent or buy it. Not that there was anything wonderful about the original story, an absurdly complicated piece of nonsense. Much as I liked seeing Wang Yu in his prime again after all these years, this one is an utter waste of time. I've had dish detergents that made a better film than this. What the chopped-up DVD version shows us is that no matter how silly a Chinese script may be, you have to see some sort of story to care about how the fighting sequences turn out.

    But "The One-Armed Swordsmen" does offer you do the chance to see both Wang and Shaw Brothers stalwart Lo Lieh beating up smirking pretty boy David Chiang -- it's always a pleasure to see that happen. Lo plays a sort of second-string villain here, and serves as a prime example of why some people really need orthodontists. he film is also graced by the participation of Taiwanese actor Chang Yi as the magistrate.

    Another comment above mentions the obligatory fight-in-the-inn scene (there are two, in fact) where Wang and Chiang are attacked by a pack of comical barbarians using what look like cavemen weapons, making Bruce Lee noises while they fight. None of this makes any sense, but that's okay if you're not expecting any clarity or common sense. It was fun to watch anyway.

    Another peculiarity of this production is that there are no significant women characters. There are a couple of female roles, but they play no serious role in the action or the plot.

    If you can find a copy of the original Shaw Brothers One-Armed Swordsman movie, the one which explains why he has only the one arm and why he uses a broken sword, go for it.