The Golden Sword: ”I want to do my duty as a son”

 

Year: 1969
Directed by Lo Wei
Produced by Run Run Shaw
Written by Lo Wei
Cast: Cheng Pei-Pei, Kao Yuen, Wang Lai, Lo Wei and Sammo Hung

 

 

A young man searches for his father who has disappeared with two mysterious figures under a black garb.

 

A dignified man leaves with two mysterious figures with no explanation. Thus, the ongoing mystery for The Golden Sword sets in. It’s an unexpected revelation that totally changes the dynamic of the story. The first half of The Golden Sword is a rather mild journey of a young man looking for his father. With the typical thugs standing in Bai Yu-Lung’s way. The snowy landscape is rather a unique look for a Shaw Bros. production. It breaks away from the clichéd look that plagues most Shaw Bros. movies at the time. However, the fun of the first half sees the relationship between Bai Yu Lung and Ngai Jin-Feng play out. Ngai is Cheng Pei-Pei’s character. Ngai masquerades as a man, and which is no doubt a nod to her iconic role in Come Drink With Me. The usual antics that follow when a character misjudges his love interest’s gender happens. It might be predictable, but it adds a certain charm to the romance. The short musical is a tad too random, but I thought it supports the fun nature of Nagi well. The ending of the first half is kind of amusing that it ends like an actual ending if the sight of happy matrimony brings a sense of closure.

The second half’s tone would be too jarring if the actual intrigue weren’t so interesting. The mystery surrounding Bai Yu Lung’s father pushes the narrative into something you don’t really expect at all. That’s probably The Golden Sword’s winning grace, the mystery. If it doesn’t wow you, then the film is rather a mediocre affair. Even, the action itself isn’t the strongest. The use of stunt doubles is too obvious, and maybe to the point of being a bit too amateurish. I don’t want to ruin the mystery, but let’s just say it is an Amazonian deathtrap. It’s an unsightly place that makes the film deal with some interesting themes.
The climax isn’t what you expect. It’s less about the clashing of fists or swords, but about the values, you stand for. It’s a worthy build up to all of the events. It’s strangely both Confucian and anti-Confucian if that makes any sense.
The Golden Sword is an uneven wuxia film with a great mystery.

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