The Blade Spares None (HK 1971)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 4/20/13
Director: Lo Wei
Cast: Nora Miao, Patrick Tse, James Tien Chun, Paul Chang Chung

A fantastic performance by a young Nora Miao left me with a newfound appreciation for her, as she pulls off some extremely impressive swordwork. Right away we know that she's trouble, using her twin blades to maim, mutilate, and dismember highway robbers less than two minutes into the film. She is Ho Li Chun, who is also known as "the blade who spares none." After winning a brutal fighting competition, she catches the attention of Prince Kuei (charismatic Paul Chang Chung), who hires her as one of his knights. This allows her to get close to the prince and see what naughtiness he's up to. Two other swordsmen, Tang (Patrick Tse) and Chen (James Tien), also want to investigate the prince, and they eventually form an uneasy alliance with Miss Ho. Both Tang and Ho have a score to settle with a mystery man known as Sun Tien Chen, The Devil's Claw, and the prince is the key to finding him. An exhausting climax of clashing swords finally brings the bad guys to justice, but at what cost?

A great looking and well made production, and the lovely Nora Miao shines throughout. I was thoroughly impressed with her complex swordwork, raw ferocity, and unflinching authority, and now I want to see if she's done any other work of this caliber. The fight sequences are quite good and surprisingly bloody for the age of the film, and Paul Chang's performance and proficiency are riveting. Pretty much an all-around good time for fans of the genre.