Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Twin Swords

The Twin Swords

Finally, a movie where Jimmy Wang-Yu didn't bore me! In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the young Wang-Yu is cast against type here as a frequently crying young swordsman, Gui Wu, whose wife, Lianzhu (Chin Ping), has been kidnapped by the clan at the Red Lotus Temple.

The film opens with a breathless bit of action at the same temple where the pair's escape is aided by the mysterious Scarlet Maid (Ivy Ling-Po), a kind of fairy/swordswoman.

In a series of scrapes, Lianzhu is captured and imprisoned in the Temple and its up to her assorted family members to mount a rescue.

Interestingly, Tien Feng is here not cast as a villain but as the family patriarch. Look for a young Lo Lieh as Lianzhu's former ardent admirer before her marriage to Wang-Yu's character. He joins the rescue attempt as does the youngest member of the Gan Fortress: Xiaoling, played by Fung Bo-Bo. The 12-year-old has one great scene in the Red Lotus compound where she uses the Fish Intestine (?) blade on some baddies, hacking off one guy's forearm in a kind of Hammer Studios moment of gore.

The 90-minute film is really a series of setpieces and yet it was a lot of fun. I think Cheng Cheh worked on this film in some capacity but it has none of his ponderous machismo in it. Despite some bits of blood, the film is more like the fun parts of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom than anything else.

Look for Ku Feng, and Come Drink with Me villain, Chen Hung Lieh, as one of the villains at the Temple. And I think I spotted Lee Wan Chung in there as well.

The film moves fast and a handful of songs recap the events like a Greek chorus. Ivy Ling-Po didn't have quite enough to do but she dominates the scenes she's in.

You can order The Twin Swords on DVD here.