Full Moon Scimitar (1979)

Directed by
7/10 - Good Chor Yuen/Gu Long film
Reviewed by Simon on 2007-03-06

Ding Peng (Derek Yee) fancies himself as a talent with the sword, but after being humiliated by Wu Dang master Liu Ruo Song (Wang Jung) he becomes suicidally depressed. He's about to end his life when he meets a fox spirit called Qing Qing (Lisa Wang) and falls in love. They marry, and she teaches him how to use the Full Moon Scimitar (a weapon that's ironically shaped like a crescent moon). Against her wishes, he persuades her to return to the mortal/martial world with the Scimitar to take revenge on his rival. With his new weapon and skills, his taste for fame and power returns.

Chor Yuen directs yet another Ku Long adaptation, in his trademark style (elaborate sets and costumes, cameras placed behind bits of scenery and lots and lots of dry ice). The themes of the film are familiar - fighters becoming 'Slaves of the Sword' in their quest to be No. 1, whilst the true masters just want to leave their sword in its sheath and live in seclusion. In many ways it is 'more of the same', but it's one of the better examples of the collaboration. One of the main reasons for this is Lisa Wang, who is an excellent actress, quite a babe, and even carries herself well in the fight scenes. The action from Tang Chia and Huang Pei-Chi is a cut above average for this genre (which does admittedly tend to rely on waving swords around and doing pointless somersaults more than any genuine martial arts skill).

There are moments of corniness that bring the film down, but then some fine moments that bring it back up (especially those when Yueh Hua graces the screen). It's not the best Chor Yuen/Ku Long film (though, I wonder how well some of the first ones I saw would hold up now I've seen so very, very many) but it's certainly closer to that than the worst. Definitely worth a watch if you like this style of film.

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