You are currently displaying Big5
'94獨臂刀之情 (1994)
What Price Survival

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 01/08/2005
Summary: Did i miss something here

Ok i saw a dubbed english version of this movie and i think i must of missed a lot of the translation because there is nothing to recommend here apart from nice scenery.

I dont even get why the baby was given the Norman Chu. There is minimal character development. The story is about tradegy, maybe destiny or a better life. But i just can't see why people like it. It does have a little style but not enough to impress.

Can you class this as a artsy kung fu movie?? well i didnt like ashes of time so maybe thats why i dont like this!!


Reviewed by: ksbutterbox
Date: 04/15/2002
Summary: Daniel Lee's Masterpiece..

This is so well filmed ..lots of leaves,potato flakes,and birds flying around in this one! Which is great as the swordplay is no nonsense and very intense. The images in this movie are unforgettable.The music is incredible as well. Daniel Lee truly had a very unique movie in mind with all this. Charlie Yeung only adds to the beauty of the film and it's message. This is a must see and own.

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 12/23/2001
Summary: Excellent movie

Innovative, stylish, different, and deep are the keywords to this little known HK modern swordplay extravagenza. A true masterpiece comparable to Once Upon a Time in China might have been the result had a bigger budget been given. It is somewhere between Ashes of Time and Legend of the Wolf, but easily superior to both. There's lightning-fast action and lots of melodrama, and an awkward fight-to-get-away scene half way through the film (to cool the seriousness) was cleverly apropos.

What a really, really bad year 1994 was for martial arts movies. Most of them lost money, and from 1995 on there was hardly any produced. Still, "What Price Survival" is one of my favorites from this year. I will even say that I prefer it to Drunken Master II, just because of its fantasy settings. Honestly, it's been a while since I've seen a 100% swordplay movie set in modern times, and the scene with David Chiang facing a gang playing swords while riding on motorcycles was hilarious. BTW, this is no doubt David Chiang's best movie, even though he doesn't play the central character (the protagonist).

A definite winner, 2 thumbs up.


Reviewed by: tomliffe
Date: 06/23/2001
Summary: A mixed bag

A swordplay film that tries to be different which is a good thing. Lots of men in suits and set in a more modern time to your average swordplay film. It's set in - maybe the 30's or 40's. It's like The Blade and Ashes of time style wise but not as good as either. Lots of fast edited swordfighting. I also noticed there wasn't any wires used in it (I think anyway). There was one part where a man jumped onto the side of the wall and I thought he'd jump into mid-air but instead he just jumped back onto the ground. Where this film fell is in the last half hour, it starts concentrating too much on the characters and because they weren't built up very well I was just bored by it. Lots of action though and it's definetly worth watching. There was also some dodgy background pub type music in some of the fight scenes which seemed very out of place :-) Maybe it was to try to catch the feel of the time in was set in?

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/27/2001
Summary: Visually beautiful, rather impenetrable

WHAT PRICE SURVIVAL? - Saw WPS? on Friday, and thought it was pretty cool. Broadly in the same category as Ashes Of Time & The Blade, but darker and a bit more surreal. Quite impenetrable, but visually luscious. Couldn't work out quite what time period it was set in either... maybe 1950s?

Lots of swordfighting in the film, the greatest pleasure being to see Norman Chu and Damian Lau face off with each other, 12 years after Duel To The Death. Purists will no doubt be horrified by the way it's filmed & edited though, as it masks quite a lot of what's happening in the action.

The plot is broadly in the tragic revenge ouevre (can I say that?), with greedy-power-hungry vs. honourable & righteous type conflicts, with a little conflicted romance subplot in there too.

It's not as good as Ashes Of Time or The Blade, but if you're interested in something stylish a different, take a look. The DVD from Poker Industries is a zero frills disc (just trailer + film, no menus or chapters or anything), but good quality.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 01/30/2000
Summary: Interesting failure.

The main asset of the film is the setting; unlike most swordplay films, this one takes place in (I would guess) the '30s or '40s. The constant presence of snow sets the film apart visually from the glut of swordplay movies released in the early '90s. The story, however, is fairly simplistic, and the action scenes, while numerous, are mostly shot in the jerky, incomprehensible Wong Kar-Wai style, even though the film predates Ashes of Time by a few months. Perhaps the director thought truly exciting fight scenes would run contrary to what seems to be the films theme: the total futility of violence and revenge. Basically, this film is an admirable attempt to make a thoughtful action movie, but certain overtly (and overly) artsy scenes slow the pace to a crawl, and the swordplay scenes are usually more frustrating than exciting. Wu Xing-Guo looks good in the lead, but doesn't bring much charisma to the role. Still, it's nice to see a movie that fails because it tries to be different rather than sit through another paint-by-numbers wuxia film.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/21/1999

A duel between two master swordsmen for the hand of a beautiful youngmaiden leads to a 20-year-old grudge that proves deadly.

[Reviewed by Tai Seng Catalog]

Reviewed by: leh
Date: 12/09/1999

Completely blew me away, a mix between John Woo and samurai movies set in a fantasy-like 1930's where everyone fights with swords.

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

Clyde Gentry III, in HKFC, writes: "It's a glossy-looking '70's swordplay hiding in the body of an '80's T/G film set in the 1940's where everyone has a sword, and no guns are in sight."

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Even allowing that Lee Yan-Kong is directing for the first time, this film is quite unsatisfactory. Obviously he is trying to shoot a film in the manner of someone drawing a manhwa (Chinese "comics"). This is his first mistake. The other is the story itself is filled with weak manhwa cliches and plot devices. So instead of a mediocre manhwa, the result is a movie with even less to offer. Despite a pretty good cast, the characters have no heart and feeling. Acting is wooden. The cinematography is the only decent element in what I feel to be one of the worse commercial grade HK movies of 1994.


[Reviewed by Christopher Fu]