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Sword Master (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Blu-ray Region A

Derek Yee (Director, Writer) | Tsui Hark (Producer, Writer) | Peter Ho (Actor) | Kenny Lin (Actor)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Before he became one of Hong Kong's best directors, Derek Yee began his career as a Shaw Brothers star, shooting to fame at the age of 19 through the 1977 swordplay film Death Duel, based on Gu Long's novel Sword of the Third Young Master. Nearly four decades later, Yee brings a new adaptation of the wuxia tale, this time as director. To reinvent the period action epic with 3D technology, Yee enlisted the expertise of Tsui Hark who co-wrote and produced Sword Master, while Yuen Bun and Dion Lam handled the action choreography.

Lin Gengxin (The Taking of Tiger Mountain) steps into the role that Yee once played, Third Master, the greatest swordsman in the land. Tired of a life of bloodshed, he retires from the martial arts world, and takes on a servant position at a brothel. Meanwhile, top swordsman Yan (Peter Ho, The Monkey King), whose days are numbered by illness, seeks a duel with Third Master to prove himself at all costs, only to be informed the fake news of Third Master's death. Third Master's vengeful jilted lover Murong Qiudi (Jiang Yiyan, The Four) also unleashes a bloodbath in order to force Third Master to take up his sword again.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Sword Master (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) 三少爺的劍 (2016) (Blu-ray) (香港版) 三少爷的剑 (2016) (Blu-ray) (香港版) Sword Master (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Sword Master (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Peter Ho (Actor) | Kenny Lin (Actor) | Jiang Meng Jie (Actor) | Jiang Yi Yan (Actor) | Wu Yuen Jun (Actor) | Norman Tsui (Actor) | Gu Kwoon Ching (Actor) | Nina Paw (Actor) | Fong Ping (Actor) | Harashima Daichi (Actor) 何潤東 (Actor) | 林更新 (Actor) | 蔣夢婕 (Actor) | 江一燕 (Actor) | 吳 元俊 (Actor) | 徐少強 (Actor) | 顧冠忠 (Actor) | 鮑起靜 (Actor) | 方平 (Actor) | 原島 大地 (Actor) 何润东 (Actor) | 林更新 (Actor) | 蒋梦婕 (Actor) | Jiang Yi Yan (Actor) | 吴 元俊 (Actor) | 徐少强 (Actor) | 顾冠忠 (Actor) | 鲍起静 (Actor) | 方平 (Actor) | Harashima Daichi (Actor) 何潤東(ピーター・ホー) (Actor) | 林更新 (ケニー・リン) (Actor) | ジァン・モンジェ (Actor) | 江一燕(ジャン・イーイェン) (Actor) | Wu Yuen Jun (Actor) | 徐少強(チョイ・シウキョン) (Actor) | 顧冠忠(クー・クゥンチョン) (Actor) | 鮑起靜 (パウ・ヘイチン) (Actor) | Fong Ping (Actor) | 原島大地 (Actor) Peter Ho (Actor) | Kenny Lin (Actor) | Jiang Meng Jie (Actor) | Jiang Yi Yan (Actor) | Wu Yuen Jun (Actor) | Norman Tsui (Actor) | Gu Kwoon Ching (Actor) | Nina Paw (Actor) | Fong Ping (Actor) | Harashima Daichi (Actor)
Director: Derek Yee 爾 冬陞 尔 冬升 爾冬陞(イー・トンシン) Derek Yee
Action Director: Dion Lam | Yuen Chaam 林迪安 | 元彬 林迪安 | 元彬 Dion Lam | Yuen Chaam Dion Lam | Yuen Chaam
Producer: Tsui Hark 徐 克 徐 克 徐克(ツイ・ハーク) 서극
Writer: Derek Yee | Tsui Hark | Qin Tian Nan 爾 冬陞 | 徐 克 | 秦 天南 尔 冬升 | 徐 克 | 秦天南 爾冬陞(イー・トンシン) | 徐克(ツイ・ハーク) | 秦天南 Derek Yee | 서극 | Qin Tian Nan
Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) What is it?
Release Date: 2017-01-26
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Place of Origin: Hong Kong, China
Picture Format: [HD] High Definition What is it?
Sound Information: Dolby Digital EX(TM) / THX Surround EX(TM)
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Screen Resolution: 1080p (1920 x 1080 progressive scan)
Rating: IIB
Duration: 100 (mins)
Publisher: Panorama (HK)
Package Weight: 100 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1057094210

Product Information

* Special Features:
- Trailer
- Making Of

The Third Master (Gengxin LIN) of the Sword Mansion is regarded as the most powerful swordsman of the land since the young age of 12. However, He has grown tired of the bloodshed in the martial arts world and loses the ability to pick up his sword. Deciding to go away for good, he spreads news of his own death and goes into hiding at a brothel, a place where he is simply known as a janitor named Chi. Chi lives as an underdog and slowly falls for young courtesan Xiao Li (Mangjie JIANG). Often mistaken by others as the Third Master, YAN (Peter HO) is another expert swordsman whose only wish is to fight a duel against Third Master. When he accidentally encounters Chi, he does not realize that Chi is actually his dream opponent and even teaches Chi his secret fighting skills....
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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This film has received 5 award nomination(s).
  • Hong Kong Films Awards 2017
    • Best Art Direction Nomination
    • Best Costume & Make Up Design Nomination
    • Best Action Choreography Nomination
    • Best Sound Design Nomination
    • Best Visual Effects Nomination
All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Sword Master (2016) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)"

March 16, 2017

Benny Chan's recent Call of Heroes was a fine Shaw Brothers homage but Tsui Hark and Derek Yee one-up Chan with an actual Shaw Brothers remake. Produced by Tsui and directed by Yee, Sword Master is a retelling of the Chor Yuen film Death Duel (1977), which was in turn based on a swordplay novel by Gu Long. Immediately, what's noticeable about Sword Master is how much it resembles the Shaw Brothers original and its older aesthetic, with the same or similar costumes, and obvious sets and green screen work that approximate the filtered-skies look of Death Duel. Other filmmaking aspects also appear retro; Yee avoids stylization and more modern storytelling techniques for a simply-told, earnest and enjoyable swordplay film that strongly resembles the films that inspired it. Fear not, Sword Master also has current actors and snazzy CGI, so it's not completely old school.

Sword Master tells the story of the Third Master of Supreme Sword Manor, whose skills with a sword make him the dude everybody and his brother wants to take down. However, first the audience is introduced to Useless Chi (Kenny Lin), a morose slob who works in a menial job at a brothel. Chi avoids connections with others, but annoying customers push him to abandon his reticent ways and reveal himself as a man with martial arts talents. Meanwhile, tattoo-faced assassin Yen Shih-San (Peter Ho) gets a rude awakening. Yen went all surly and dark in his quest to become the world's supreme swordsman, a goal that places Third Master squarely in his path. However, after being hired by Third Master's former lover, Mu-Yung Chu-Ti (Jiang Yiyan), to kill Third Master, Yen learns that Third Master is actually dead. To be the best, you have to beat the best, but since Yen can't beat the best, can he be the best? Competitive clichés say, "No."

However, Yen Shih-San actually can duel Third Master because – SPOILER WARNING – Useless Chi is Third Master, and the reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. But the road to a final fight between these two swordsmen is a twisting one, involving Yen Shih-San's planned retirement from the martial arts life, Third Master's friendship with an unfortunate prostitute named Li (Jiang Mengjie), and a threatened war between Third Master and Mu-Yung Chu-Ti's martial arts clans. Sword Master possesses a much more fleshed-out story than Death Duel -- in particular, Yen Shih-San is given a satisfying subplot in which his affinity with Third Master is deepened. There's room for plot twists and "ah hah" surprises but the film never attempts such trickery, with the narrative remaining transparent in its development. The resulting story is simple and resonant, if occasionally melodramatic, with themes concerning the dark nature of jiang hu, and how honor and pacifism should be respected. These are common and even corny ideas, but they're handled with restraint if not subtlety.

Action is more fluid and elegant than in the Shaw Brothers original. The sword duels are lengthy with movements that are easy to follow thanks to an effective mixture of camera speeds and intricate choreography from action directors Yuen Bun and Dion Lam. Overall, the sword duels are not that fast or energetic, but the intricate and exacting choreography compensates, and the slow motion allows actors to emote mid-duel. Larger battles between the warring clans are portrayed in a similar fashion, but with other weapons like flying claws or shurikens. Sword Master was shot in 3D, which complements the action scenes quite well. Not only does the 3D allow blades and arrows to poke the audience (a natural requirement in a 3D swordplay film), but the visuals look even better with the Shaw-style aesthetic of colorful costumes and bright sets. CGI is also used to spruce up some sword moves, particularly the fantastic techniques of Third Master and Yen Shih-San.

Acting trends old school, meaning that it's mannered and theatrical without being too flamboyant or self-aware – that is, excepting Peter Ho, who gives an over-the-top performance that's almost anime-like in its garishness. Ho steals the show anyway since Yen Shih-San is a likeable rogue who gets the most entertaining moments and the best character arc. Kenny Lin is generally fine in the lead; he's handsome and masculine enough to play a Shaw-type hero, but he also gets to show vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, Third Master is given to melodramatic moods, with Lin's overly-serious acting occasionally eliciting giggles. This isn't entirely Kenny Lin's fault, as it's doubtful any actor can scream "Nooooooooooo!" unironically and get away with it anymore. Anyway, Lin still does a better job than the actor who played Third Master in Death Duel: It was some guy named Derek Yee. Overall, the film's best performance belongs to Jiang Yiyan, whose theatrical, conflicted turn as Third Master's ex-lover and present enemy Mu-Yung Chu-Ti is compelling.

Sword Master doesn't revel in its status as an old-fashioned remake of a forty-plus year-old film. Derek Yee's participation, the art direction, and an appearance by Tsui Siu-Keung (who also appeared in Death Duel) offer nods to the original film, but the filmmakers don't angle for a reinvention or a postmodern take on the story. Sword Master is simply a good swordplay yarn told earnestly without any self-referential style or commentary. For a contrast, one only has to look at Peter Chan's The Warlords (2007), a remake of the Shaw Brothers film Blood Brothers (1973) that took the same story as Chang Cheh's heroic bloodshed classic but went with a muted color palette, gritty art direction, and a bombastic self-importance having to do with man, god, brotherhood, morality and justifying your big budget. Sword Master doesn't try to elevate its genre, and merely represents it respectfully and entertainingly – and hey, that's a perfectly fine thing to do. Given how postmodern movies have become, Sword Master is a welcome breath of fresh air.

by Kozo -

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