Princess Fragrance (1987)
Reviewed by: pjshimmer on 2002-11-18
Very little is known about Ann Hui's Book & Sword movie series, which includes Romance of the Book and Sword as well as Princess Fragrance. Although viewers looking for dynamic action scenes will surely be disappointed by this movie that has no more than 5 minutes of action, those looking for a strong epic will be satisfied.

The Legend of the Book and Sword is novelist Jin Yong's first work. The hero therein, Chen Jia Luo, is perhaps the most disliked protagonist in all of Jin Yong's 13 novels, because Chen is the most indecisive and achieves nothing. However, as this movie will reveal, the "nothing" that he achieved was probably more beneficial to China's 300 million people than "something" that he might have accomplished. I can sympathize with the character, because his task is so great that one mistake could change the course of history, and it did.

This movie series is Director Ann Hui's only martial arts movies. Hui is best known for Chow Yun Fat's first hit, The Story of Woo Viet (1981); the 1982 anti-communism movie Boat People which stars Andy Lau; and the 1999 award winner Ordinary Heroes.

Overall, this movie along with its predecesor can be boring to unwarned viewers. It is more of a historical drama than a wuxia film, because the action is almost nonexistent. I found it very interesting and unpredictable at times. Well worth a look.