Spirit of the Sword (2007)

My quest to see all of the wuxia dramas starring Nicholas Tse continues with Spirit of the Sword.  Ok, I don’t hate it, and I don’t not like it, I just think it could be better.  I do like the fact that Patrick Tam is in it, which reminded me that I really like Patrick and must watch more stuff that he’s in.  I like the story.  I’m particularly intrigued with the notion of race and how it impacts how the characters get treated (i.e. oh, you aren’t from the Central Plain, you need to get to steppin!)  I like the multiple swordswomen in this one too.  And every good wuxia drama needs a good villain.  I was almost convinced that the villain was not the villain.  How delicious!  Despite the subterfuge, I like how the drama committed to the fact that he’s the villain.  If you are going to be a villain, you got to be bad, like killing folks family bad, like whacking allies bad, like breaking the brotherhood bad.  Woohoo!

But I think it could be better.  I’m used to advertising for wuxia dramas misdirecting me..ok, so it’s not really about Nic’s character but his brother.  Fine.  Oh, its not really about these swords.  Fine.  But the pacing is slow, and we spend too much unnecessary time on the romance.  Now you have to understand that I started watching those 1980s wuxia dramas that are really slow, with lots of monologues about the ever-present romantic triangle and I didn’t mind that.  I like the romance, but really, the pacing in Spirit is unnecessarily slow.We know that nobody likes Nic’s character and aren’t thrilled about Gillian Chung’s character’s romance with him, let’s move on, shall we?  I also wished they would have spend more time on the reconciliation of the half-brothers.  I mean one minute you want to chop him up, and we are supposed to believe you will stand by his side in the final climatic fight?  I’m just not buying it, even if it is Nicholas Tse.  And then there were parts that were just funny.  I mean, how effective is a sword that is almost as big as me?

Would I watch it again?  Yeah, but I wouldn’t be thrilled about it.

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