Not the sharpest Blade in the Shaw Studio... but still a gre
D. Wilson | NY by way of Cali | 06/09/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Vengeance Is A Golden Blade is an early swordfighting/Wuxia film from the legendary Shaw Brothers Studio, and though it's far from required viewing, it does showcase some of the magic the studio possessed in it's glory years. An excellent cast, lavish sets and costumes, and absurd yet fantastic dramatic beats (like the revealing of the legendary "Golden Blade," as well as a rival sword that takes 18 years to create!) that would even make most American Soap Opera writers blush, all make this a fast and loose watch that never let's the viewer get bored with the proceedings. The story centers around a pair of rival security firm owners, of course one is a good man while the other is the eldest of the "Vicious Long Brothers" (you'd think it would be hard to get security work with that name but...), and the deceitful wife of the honorable security owner who is in cahoots with Mr. Long in an attempt to overtake his firm and control of the powerful sword known as "The Golden Blade" (which makes entire hordes of men tremble... pretty funny really). From here on things aren't always as they seem and like I mentioned earlier, the plot throws all sorts of good stuff at you so I don't want to go much further into it in fear of ruining some of the fun revelations later in the story (besides, one really long run-on sentence is enough for this review right?). Director Meng Hua Ho is in relatively tame form here, though there are some nice gory blood spurts (for 1969 at least) this is nothing like his more outrageous work with Shaw Studios (which actually may let some viewers down) like Cave Of The Silken Web, The Flying Guillotine, Black Magic, The Oily Maniac, and of course, The Mighty Peking Man. In fact the only misstep that really sticks out is a few scenes that seem to jump from day to night (and back again) within a matter of seconds? Was it done to illustrate the changing mood of the characters or is it just sloppy editing? Who knows, but either way it doesn't detract much from the movie, maybe even giving it a little more of it's own personality. The swordfighting isn't spectacular either, in fact a lot of the action comes off like the local High School's production of Hamlet (maybe not THAT bad); it has it's moments though. Vengeance Is A Golden Blade isn't a great movie, in fact, if you are unfamiliar with the Shaw Brothers stable of films then this would be a pretty weak jumping on point even... however; if you're like me and feel the studio could do little wrong, then there's no reason not to add this to your collection (the 3 star rating I gave it is more a reflection of it in comparison to the truly great Shaw offerings, rather than it actually being a mediocre film itself). The DVD release from Image looks and sounds great but is lacking any special features (I don't count a trailer as a special feature) and has no English dub track either (for those that hate to read)."