The Hidden Sword
Panorama | Gateway | Special Presentations
In 1933, Chinese soldiers led by heroic officer Shen Feixue defeat a Japanese attack on the Great Wall using only swords. But Shen disappears, and an imposter (Huang Jue) seduces Shen’s widow, the sword-wielding beauty Zhihui (Xu Jing). Together, they try to steal Shen’s teacher Master Kong’s ultimate sword techniques, and manage to establish a flamboyantly despotic rule over their small town. But heroic young Kong Dingyi (Zhang Aoyue), Master Kong’s grandson and prize student, stands in their way. Complications ensue in the person of an exotic female dancer/acrobat (Li Bo), who appears as a travelling saleswoman. And the Kongs adopt orphaned wastrel Qingqing, who grows into a beautiful young woman with eyes for Dingyi. Will he defeat his own longings and enemies both intimate and foreign, and preserve his family’s honour?
China’s new master of elegant chivalric swordplay, Xu Haofeng, is famous for his intellectually acute martial arts novels, and for his three previous art-action movie showpieces, with their elegant, spare, authentically executed action set pieces. Here, Xu adds big-budget eye-popping spectacle and real comic brio to his palette, and the results are both exciting and seductive. Xu Qing’s sparkling eroticism, Zhang Aoyue’s youthful heroism (and utterly convincing martial arts moves) and a parade of soon-to-be-classic swordplay set pieces anchor this dazzlingly shot, star-studded comic action masterpiece.
— Shelly Kraicer