7 September 2007 | evilore
Obscure classic martial arts actioner completely delivers
7 Grandmasters deserves to be a legend of martial arts cinema. Nowhere else, either from this period of cinema or the modern era, have I seen so much variety in fighting styles and such a huge number of quality fight sequences. While the fights may adhere to a '70s fight choreography feel to some extent, they're very fast and fluid, with each fight displaying a unique tone. Monkey style, mantis style, weapon fights, fights between the same styles, an unorthodox fight that will be at home to Jackie Chan fans, and several others. Each style is carefully considered and utilized authentically, not just as a gimmick to add superficial differences to samey choreography. And fortunately the fights are filmed at steady, wide angles with long continuous shots whenever possible to allow the viewer to fully appreciate the action.
The story may seem unusually briskly paced, but this ends up being refreshing after experiencing countless martial arts films with convoluted melodrama, where good martial artists try and fail to act. What story there is explains the motivation for each of the fights without ever holding back the real goal of the movie.
Visually, the film is quite gorgeous, with varied locations and bright, vast environments. The sound effects on the original mandarin audio track utilize wonderful whooshing effects for the fights, as you'd expect.
This is a must-see classic for any fan of martial arts film.