Below-par showcase for the talents of kung fu diva Chia Ling
Brian Camp | Bronx, NY | 12/31/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"REVENGEFUL SWORDSWOMAN (1979) is an awkwardly plotted, action-packed vehicle for Taiwan-born kung fu diva Chia Ling (aka Judy Lee, star of QUEEN BOXER, REVENGE OF THE PATRIOTS, and SHAOLIN INVINCIBLES). Fans of the actress will welcome the fact that she gets to fight a lot, although she's doubled for the more acrobatic stunts and high leaps. The fights aren't particularly well-staged but there are a lot of them and most feature the star in her most fiercely attractive mode.Chia Ling plays Hsiang Ying, a wandering fighter (armed with a knife and not a sword, despite the title) who seeks to avenge the death of her father. She picks up a young male disciple along the way (referred to as "Clown" on the English-dubbed soundtrack), as well as a sometime ally (Man Kong Lung) who pops up in her hours of need but turns out to be something other than what he appears to be. All the while she works her way to the domain of Lord Koo, the object of her wrath. Also along the way, she fights off various attackers who know her by the name, "the Heartless Lady," and accuse her of killing their families. (Interestingly, she never denies the accusations.)Even though Chia Ling is in practically every scene, we don't get to see enough of her because of the astoundingly inept video transfer engineered by Ocean Shores (and released in the U.S. as part of Tai Seng's Martial Arts Theater lineup). The close-cropped framing and failure to pan-and-scan means that much of the action is routinely cut off, resulting in scenes where we hear the sounds of fighting but see only a background setting and an occasional stray fist or foot fly into the frame. There are whole dialogue scenes where the speakers are sitting at opposite ends of a table and we see only a shot of the table while they're talking. Close-ups of Chia Ling often cut off all but a sliver of her face. As a result, it's hard to make a sound judgment about this film. It's as if we were watching it in a theater in which a pillar blocked fully half the screen from view. It's transfers like this that point up the need for letter-boxing widescreen movies."
Bad tranfer of good flick
M. Coleman | 07/24/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"There's nothing really outstanding about this vintage martial arts film, although, Chia Ling does make an imposing heroine in a standard revenge tale. The real story is the terrible transfer. Tai Seng should be ashamed to not at least panned and scanned their dark 3rd generation print."