The Thundering Sword (HK 1967)

Rating: **
Review Date: 3/3/18
Cast: Cheng Pei-Pei, Chang Yi, Lo Lieh, Tien Feng, Wu Ma

Two brothers (Chang Yi and Lo Lieh) set out to find the legendary Thundering Sword so that they can destroy it before it falls into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, a cunning and hot-headed woman from the Caterpillar Clan named So Jiau Jiau (Cheng Pei-Pei) shows up and makes a mess of everything. Deception, mistaken identities, and wrongful accusations lead to everyone's doom.

It's an incredibly tedious film, and without Cheng Pei-Pei's endearing charm it would be unwatchable. She is radiant throughout and effortlessly commands every scene that she's in. Unfortunately, it's much more of a weepy romantic tragedy than a swordplay film, and it's mostly dominated by long-winded monologues of wistful longing and bizarre courtship traditions. The action scenes are exceedingly weak, although occasionally quite graphic. Fairly typical of the stuff that Shaw Brothers was putting out in the 1960's, before the kung fu craze of the 70's redefined martial arts cinema.