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Seven Swords storm the Royal

Tsui Hark's wuxia epic, Seven Swords, comes to Toronto in an exclusive engagement at the Royal starting today. In spite of the recent (relative) popularity of asian sword-and-sorcery pics in North America, Seven Swords didn't manage to bag a wide release on this side of the planet, leaving it up to Seville Pictures to distribute the film to the rep houses in Canada.

The story involves seven swordsmen (well, obviously) who come together to defend a village from a brutal oppressor. The Seven Samurai parallels are, surprisingly, not as direct as you'd think: Swords is based on Liang Yusheng's novel Seven Swordsmen from Mountain Tian, while Hark's film relies on a strong Western (the genre, not the hemisphere) flavour that was in part perfected by Kurosawa in Samurai.

I reviewed the flick for blogTO back in 2005 when it played as a special presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival; my original review is here. Looking back my feelings on the film remain largely the same, but I'll modify the last paragraph thusly:

"Tsui Hark does an excellent job of creating a vast, epic canvas for his storyline; Seven Swords is a film that begs to be seen on the big screen..." see it at the Royal while you have the chance.


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