Top Lady Of Sword (Taiwan 1992?)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 7/15/12
Cast: Cynthia Khan, Kenneth Tsang

Two brothers, Au Long and Wong Hu, come to Kwangtung seeking revenge for their slain elder brother. The lovely Ms. Yang is the responsible party, and she convinces them to present their case at an annual martial arts tournament, held specifically for dealing with issues of this sort. They agree, but the devious Au Long comes up with a scheme to get rid of Ms. Yang before then. With the help of a seductive inn keeper (bearing an uncanny resemblance to Rosamund Kwan), Au Long manages to steal a powerful kung fu manual and frame Ms. Yang for murder, which leads to an escalation of violence until only one man (or woman) is left standing.

Cynthia Khan plays Ms. Yang's niece, Shao Ching, and she looks lovely in period dress. Her swordplay is wonderful and she also has some very fancy and elaborate hair styles, which is an added bonus. The actress who plays Ms. Yang sees the majority of the action, and is an attractive young woman who is extremely good with a sword. (she may have also been in "Tale Of A Heroine" (1993), but I need to research that further) The swordplay is fast and furious, and while most of it is ground based, there are also some silly wire stunts thrown in for fun. Apart from Kenneth Tsang, I didn't recognize any of the other actors. It's a fairly straight forward kung fu revenge film, and it only slips into silliness on a handful of occasions (most notably anything dealing with Ms. Yang's idiot husband, and when the master monk starts talking about a special Shaolin "self service" technique to deal with celibacy). The film looks good and the production values are decent. Most of the fight scenes are undercranked, but only a few look ridiculously sped up. Three stars may be generous for this film, but it really hit the spot and I thoroughly enjoyed it.