After her father, a judge, is murdered by corrupt officials, a young woman must set out do recover the Blood Rain Sword, which her father had left to her, and encounters obstacles from the v... Read allAfter her father, a judge, is murdered by corrupt officials, a young woman must set out do recover the Blood Rain Sword, which her father had left to her, and encounters obstacles from the villainous Chao Pai.After her father, a judge, is murdered by corrupt officials, a young woman must set out do recover the Blood Rain Sword, which her father had left to her, and encounters obstacles from the villainous Chao Pai.
The plot has to do with the search for the Blood Rain Sword, an Imperial treasure in the possession of Lin Fung (Chia Ling), passed to her when her father, an honest judge, was murdered by corrupt officials. Tien Peng plays a fighter forced by villain Chao Pai (Chang Yi) to try and wrest the sword from Lin Fung. Eventually, he becomes her ally and the two join forces against Chao Pai. There's not much urgency to the story, since a minimal investigation and a diligent search by the bad guys would easily turn up the sword early on with the only obstacle, of course, being Lin Fung and her formidable mastery of the sword.
This framework offers lots of opportunities for fight scenes and, fortunately, the film takes full advantage of them. Chia Ling is at the forefront of all of these scenes and is quite a sight to behold. Extraordinarily beautiful, she goes into action, with her eyes blazing, nostrils wide and mouth tightened in determination, leaping about, swinging her sword, slashing and kicking bad guys, and either emerging victorious or fleeing when the odds are against her. She also uses her wits. At one point, she switches places with a kidnapped woman and is carried inside a bag into a basement dungeon. When the gang opens the bag, she leaps out and slays a number of her would-be captors before she's wounded with a poisoned dart. Later, as she is recuperating from the effects of the dart, she notices four guards searching the abandoned house in which she's hiding. As the camera prowls the rooms and courtyard of the sprawling ruins (an actual location), she attacks with her sword and uses the layout of the place to confuse the guards and pick them off, one by one.
The final battle takes place in a mill outside of town, recreated in full in a massive soundstage. The only problem with this otherwise superbly staged sequence is the reliance on the villain's sensitivity to light. As a result, the final fight between Chang Yi and the two leads takes place in a deliberately darkened set, the better to weaken Chang by flashing him with bursts of sunlight when shutters are flung open. It's Chang Yi's biggest fight in the film but because of the diminished lighting, he's not seen to best advantage. Still, the film remains one of Chia Ling's prime kung fu showcases.
- Nov 23, 2001