The East Is Red (HK 1993)

Rating: ****
Alternate Title: Swordsman III
Producer: Tsui Hark
Director: Ching Siu Tung
Cast: Brigitte Lin, Joey Wang, Yu Rong Guang, Eddy Ko, Jean Wang

Another spectacular looking fantasy period piece from producer Tsui Hark, focusing on Brigitte Lin's patented "Asia The Invincible" character and his/her conquest to take over the world of martial arts. He/She takes on the Ming Dynasty, the Japanese, the Spanish, and a handful of fake Asia The Invincibles who have sprung up since his/her disappearance at the end of "Swordsman II" (1992). One of these imposters is Asia The Invincible's lover, played by a surprisingly sultry and exciting Joey Wang who does some gender-bending of her own. She gets it on with a seductive Jean Wang with sensual lesbian energy (whew!). Sadly, that's the last we see of Jean Wang, who turns out to be an enemy ninja spy! Yu Rong Guang is quite engaging as a Chinese government officer, but doesn't get to do much real fighting - all of the fighting tends to be supernatural, magical, and lots of flying around. Gorgeous to watch, except that some of the warship miniatures look a little embarrassing. They work, though. The first eighteen minutes of the film is a shoddy recap of the first two films in an aborted attempt to bring the viewer up to speed.