Seven Swords Tsui Hark

Seven Swords Tsui Hark
A lot can be lost in translation, and Tsui Hark’s Seven Swords is a prime example. Based on the novels of Liang Yusheng, Seven Swords suffers from the same problems many western films incurred while attempting to replicate the epic nature of fantastic literature: sacrificing much of the story and leaving those who haven’t read the books very confused. When these problems are coupled with subtitled translations of questionable accuracy, the resulting film is unsatisfying to say the least. An imperial edict commanding that all practitioners of martial arts be executed has been issued by the new dynasty. Fire-Wind (Honglei Sun) and his evil army travel the land enforcing the new edict and collecting bounties for the heads of executed martial artists. Fu Qingzhu (Chia-Liang Liu), the previous dynasty’s executioner, attempts to save a small village from Fire-Wind’s army, taking two young villagers on a journey to Mount Heaven to seek the help of the mythical Seven Swords. The Seven Swords return to the village to help fight Fire-Wind’s army, winning the battle and taking the villagers into the nearby caves to further protect them from Fire-Wind’s wrath. The second disc in this two-disc set seems unwarranted, featuring only a standard "making of” featurette, a simple director interview, a series of production diaries and theatrical trailers. When watching the bonus disc you do get a sense of how much effort was put into this film, which is disappointing since it’s all moot when a plot doesn’t materialise. Apparently the original cut of Seven Swords was an epic four hours long, chopped down to the "mere” 153-minute theatrical version on this disc. One wonders how many explanatory scenes were left on the cutting room floor? My advice is to wait and see if a director’s cut is forthcoming before sitting through this version and if no director’s cut is ever released, cut your losses and move on to something more interesting. (Seville)