Soul of the Sword (1978)
Reviewed by: pjshimmer on 2006-03-23
Summary: A unique wuxia experience
"You pay a price for everything that you gain."

"When I save a life with my needle, I feel happy. I want to know, when you kill someone with your sword, do you feel equally happy?"

This is not your typical Shaw Brothers wuxia story. The central message is actually identical to most of Chu Yuan's movies: that the road the fame is a lonely one. However, thanks to Ku Feng's reliable acting, the message gets a better delivery than most other Shaw Brothers, with occasional flashes of the horror/ghost spook (which contributes significantly to the theme). In most action movies, the common folks are treated as props ready to be sacrificed at the script's disposal, but in several scenes here we actually see how they are affected by the action of the priviledged swordsmen (who usually get all the attention). For example, in several fight scenes, there are more passers-by from many angles than you'd normally expect. It may have been an unintentional move, but I like the result nevertheless.

This is still not the best wuxia movie to deliver the notion of lonely fame, due to the rather wooden/contrived delivery from Shaw Brothers (other than the always reliable Ku Feng). The best work for this theme that I can think of would be Patrick Tam's THE SWORD (1980).
Reviewer Score: 8