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Seven Swords
Directed by Tsui Hark
Produced by Tsui Hark
Written by Cheung Chi-Sing
Hun Tin Naam
Liang Yusheng
Starring Donnie Yen
Leon Lai
Charlie Yeung
Music by Kenji Kawai
Cinematography Keung Kwok-Man
Distributed by Mandarin Films Distribution Co. Ltd.
Eng Wah Cinema
The Weinstein Company
Release date(s) 25 July 2005
Running time 153 minutes
Country Hong Kong
France
Language Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean

Seven Swords (simplified Chinese: 七剑traditional Chinese: 七劍pinyin: Qī jiàn) is a 2005 Hong Kong film directed by Tsui Hark and adapted from the novel Qijian Xia Tianshan (七劍下天山) by Wuxia writer Liang Yusheng.

The movie was the opening film to the 2005 Venice Film Festival and is a homage movie to Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954).

Contents

Plot

In the mid-1600s, the Manchurians have taken over sovereignty of China and established the Qing Dynasty. While nationalistic sentiments start brewing within the martial artists' community (Jianghu), the Qing government immediately imposes a "Martial Arts Ban" (禁武令), forbidding the common people to practice martial arts. This is a means of maintaining law and order, as well as provide the Qing government with sufficient reason to put down any potential rebellion by nationalist martial artists. Fire-Wind, a military officer who formerly served the fallen Ming Dynasty, sees the new law as an opportunity for himself to make fortune by assisting the government in executing the law. Greedy, cruel and immoral, Fire-Wind ravages northwest China, killing thousands of martial artists as well as innocent civilians with his army. His next goal is to attack the final frontier Martial Village (武莊), which, as its name suggests, is a home to a number of martial artists.

Fu Qingzhu, a retired executioner who served the previous dynasty, feels the urge to stop Fire-Wind's brutality and he sets forth to save the village from the incoming Qing forces. He brings Han Zhibang and Wu Yuanying from the village with him to Mount Heaven (天山) to seek help from the hermit Master Shadow-Glow, a master swordsmith and martial artist. Shadow-Glow agrees to help and sends his four disciples Chu Zhaonan, Yang Yuncong, Xin Longzi and Mu Lang to follow Fu and the two villagers on their quest. He also gives the seven of them each a special sword he forged and the seven titled themselves the "Seven Swords" (七劍).

The Seven Swords return to Martial Village in the nick of time and managed to defeat Fire-Wind's men who had started the attack. In order to buy time for the villagers to prepare for an exodus, the Seven Swords advance to Fire-Wind's base and cause chaos there. During the raid, Chu Zhaonan encounters Fire-Wind's Korean slave Green Pearl and brings her along with him as they make their escape.

As the party makes its exodus, strange things start to happen along the way. Food and water are mysteriously poisoned and their escape trail is marked by signs leading the enemy to them. The Seven Swords realise that there is a spy within the party and they understand that they must identify the spy and get rid of him/her before the enemy arrives. Green Pearl becomes a suspect immediately as she cannot speak their language and they are unable to understand her. The situation is further complicated by a love affair between Chu Zhaonan and Green Pearl. Green Pearl leads Chu Zhaonan into a trap unintentionally and escapes barely from Fire-Wind's clutches despite having been mortally wounded. Chu Zhaonan was captured by Fire-Wind. Green Pearl manages to convey the message to the other Swords that Chu had been captured before dying.

Determined to rescue their comrade, the six Swords go to Fire-Wind's military base and engage in a fierce battle with him and his army. During the absence of the Swords, the spy Qiu Dongluo reveals his identity and begins killing the unsuspecting villagers systematically. However, he was eventually slain by the village head's daughter Liu Yufang, who had been traumatised by the experience and turns hysterical. Meanwhile, the Seven Swords manage to defeat and kill Fire-Wind, forcing his army to retreat temporarily.

The Seven Swords return to the hideout only to find that the villagers have all been killed, with Liu Yufang and the children being the only survivors. Han Zhibang manages to calm Liu Yufang and decides to stay behind and protect the survivors, but Liu Yufang tells him that they can take care of themselves. The Seven Swords then realise that the only way to save the martial arts community from destruction is meet the Emperor and convince him to withdraw the "Martial Arts Ban". Han Zhibang rejoins his comrades as they ride off towards the capital city.

Cast

Actor Character
Donnie Yen Chu Zhaonan
Leon Lai Yang Yuncong
Liu Jialiang Fu Qingzhu
Charlie Yeung Wu Yuanying
Lu Yi Han Zhibang
Sun Honglei Fire-Wind
Kim So-Yeon Green Pearl
Zhang Jingchu Liu Yufang
Duncan Chow Mulang
Tai Li-Wu Xin Longzi
Yu Chenghui Master Shadow-Glow
Chen Jiajia Kualo

Production

The film, the first of a planned trilogy, was approximately four hours long, but was cut to 153 minutes.

Sequel

Tsui Hark intended Seven Swords made to be a trilogy, however the prospects of the second installment has not come to fruition. In 2008, Tsui Hark is known to be still developing the script(s) for the sequel in between production and/or direction of other projects; the actual release and production for the sequel has yet to officially be announced. It's believed that Tsui Hark is completing scripts for both the second and third installments of the movie to complete the trilogy in successive development and production.

See also

External links

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