Blade of Fury (1993)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2005-07-22
Summary: Nationalism and swordplay...
An incredibly nationalistic film, Blade of Fury combines furious and bloody kung fu action with politics and history. The movie begins with an attack by the patriotic Black Flag Troop on a group of Japanese soldiers. Although the group is defeated, their leader escapes and apparently commits suicide. A few years later a nobleman, Tan Szu-tung (Ti Lung), is traveling to see the emperor to discuss the political changes in China. Along with his assistant Nine Catties (Cynthia Yang) and the local blacksmith, they thwart an attempt on a government official's life. Afterwards, Szu-tung finds out that the blacksmith is in fact Wang Wu, the leader of the Black Flag Troop, and asks him to come along with him to see the emperor as well as set up a kung fu school in the city. Politics begin to weave their way into the story at this point, as Szu-tung decides that the Empress Dowager must be killed in order for China to reach a greater status. Meanwhile, Yuan Shih-kai, the government official that was originally saved has joined forces with King Yee, a local nobleman, in an attempt to open up China to the Japanese in order to help the trade economy. Things start to go downhill when Szu-tung is betrayed by Shih-kai and Wang Wu defies the government by refusing to combine his kung fu school with that of the Japanese. Seeing that he has no choice but to sacrifice his life for the country he loves, Wang Wu (along with Nine Catties and a few loyal students) attack King Yee's forces and avenge Szu-tung's betrayal.

Although Blade of Fury is a very exciting film, the plot is much too complicated and seriously detracts from the movie. It's almost impossible to figure out who has what agendas and what they would like to accomplish. Szu-tung is going to see the emperor, but then decides that the Empress Dowager has to die. Not being very familiar with Chinese history, this becomes very confusing. In addition, Rosamund Qwan appears in a totally arbitrary role which adds nothing to the story and wastes her acting talent. The martial arts vary in quality, mostly because of the extreme amount of wire work used. When simple forms and weapons are used, the action is incredibly exciting. But, in the same scene there can be totally useless shots of people bouncing around like they are all on trampolines, adding nothing to the action and looking silly. Probably worth seeing once for the good martial arts, but don't try to figure out what is actually going on in the movie.
Reviewer Score: 7