Funimation // 1968 // 110 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 28th, 2011
Guaranteed to make you bleed.
Everyone wants the Sword of Swords. Actually, it's a good bet that Anything of the Anything would be in high demand: Knife of Knives, Aluminum Bat of Aluminum Bats, Hamster Wheel of Hamster Wheels.
What's particularly dope about the Sword of Swords is its special wind power. All the wielder has to do is swing the sword wildly and a mammoth gust of wind blows forth, blasting anyone in its path high into the air and to his or her potential death.
Ling (Jimmy Wang Yu) is an up-and-coming kung fu stud and he's been tasked with taking care of the Sword of Swords. It is a heavy burden and one that eventually stings him in a big way. His brother sells him out, blinds him, commits much violence and steals the sword; hoping to turn himself into a kingmaker and a power player on the national stage. With the Sword's power at his disposal, none can stand against him, not even a revenge-seeking younger brother with no eyeballs.
Or can he?
Sword of Swords is a straight-up revenge picture, featuring some saggy moments (the film feels 20 minutes too long) and punctuated by sequences of big-time stabbing. For something developed in 1968, Swords embraces blade-assisted homicide with verve.
The highlight is the humongous final battle scene, featuring Ling running around with his eyes closed (a ratty blindfold would have been so much more bad-ass but would make the choreography a pain for Jimmy Wang Yu) carving up a shockingly large number of fools.
If you can withstand the film's early onslaught of stilted plot exposition, you will be richly rewarded with this scene. And, weirdly, our hero does all his killing with a pair of daggers and never uses the titular sword. No matter, he's so proficient with the twin knives and Yu is such a skilled performer, the ass-kicking is near legendary. After awhile I was completely desensitized to the copious villain bloodletting. That's a good thing.
Another good thing: Funimation's top-shelf DVD technical treatment, with a beautiful 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and two audio tracks to choose from, the original Mandarin mono and the typically awkward and sporadically amusing dubbed English stereo. No extras.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Mandarin)
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Release Year: 1968
MPAA Rating: Not Rated