9 August 2019 | ckckyang
Definitely one of the most underrated film of all time
Over thousands of films from the Shaw Brothers, this film is really something else, and it's a shame that this film didn't have a huge buzz, because to me this is one of the most unique, if not the best, martial arts films in the history of cinema.
The reason I think that it's underrated, isn't because of its amazing direction or the beautiful settings (which is pretty common from films of The Shaw Brothers company), it's that this film wasn't just a typical genre film, it went far beyond than what I expected.
I've seen the first film of this "adaptation", but the first film was actually released earlier than the book, and it's called Swordsman Of Large (1971), it was fun and enjoyable, Lung Ku did an amazing job with its writhing, but it's actually pretty typical "martial arts film", it stayed in the same place where almost every similar films went through, there will be a hero with a good heart, and a stereotypical female, a villain and a female swordsman, it's basically where this film was going in the first half of the movie, but than it broke through that "stereotypical" orb, and invented a "toy house", a doll-like world where dozens of souls were trapped in it, than there's a huge twist that just unbelievably fun, I won't spoil it here, but what this film did is something very different, if you are a lover of the Hong Kong cinema, you may not like it, but you definitely will be shocked, some people will think that it's bizarre, but to me it's fantastic, it satirized the "generic" characters and story of the martial arts films, and used it as a toll to deliver something interesting, almost fabled, the toy house was like the movie studio, and we as an audience were watching the story made from this particular studio, there're characters and actors frozen in it, we "believed" what the man told us, we believed what the storyteller told us, and than we thought we were trapped in the house, but what really happened was that we lied to ourselves, and the true story was always you as a person, we always wanted to see a story in the theater, to have an experience for ourselves, but if we took it away, we may even being watched by someone else, which is the gods, we were always trapped in the same circle, we just didn't know it.
The movie may not be too mature in this kind of concept, but what I'm trying to imply is that in the history of Hong Kong cinema, there's actually a film that has a concept that ahead of its time, there's never a film that has this kind of Utopia-idealistic plot, not in the 70s at least.
This film is extremely underrated to me, and more important than many people thought it is. What Yuen Chor did in this film is experimental, but also pretty amazing.