7 June 2017



This wuxia film is an absolute treat, nay, feast, for the eyes and it's received some smashing reviews, all saying that's it's the best martial arts film to come out of anywhere in the last God knows how long. They're all a little vague, though, when it comes to discussing the actual nitty-gritty of the plot. I think I know why that is.

The plot is as complicated and convoluted as the visuals are stunning, that's why. It's easy to lose track of who's doing what to whom and why, and how come that guy's sitting on a horse and he looks perfectly fine and healthy but you're absolutely convinced you just saw him die there a minute ago? And is that guy with the ponytail the same as the other guy who was trying to get with that girl but she wasn't into him and now he's all majorly pissed off and stuff? 

Yeah, it's that tricky, haha, but I've watched the film carefully and I think I've managed to piece everything more or less together for you guys. But if anything happens that I can't explain, just remember this. As Lucy Lawless said in THE SIMPSONS that time, a wizard did it...!

First off, I'm sure you guys know what wuxia is but, for the benefit of those who don't, here's a brief explanation. It was initially a genre of Chinese fiction that dealt with martial arts heroes who, like Homer Simpson as PIE-MAN, travelled around the place righting wrongs and dispensing large creamy helpings of justice tempered with a side order of mercy and compassion as required. Basically, they're the good guys.

The genre proved so popular, however, that it sort of spilled over into other media such as films, television and video games. Now it's a humongous part of Chinese culture and the films are watched by millions worldwide.

The costumes of the protagonists are elaborate and lavish, the scenery is gorgeous and there's tons and tons of sword-fighting. Actors can be seen doing unbelievable things like the matrix in mid-air as well and it's all perfectly fine and acceptable. It's just part of the fun of a wuxia film, that's all.

So, dare you enter the world of clanging metal, swinging ponytails and swirling skirts and, trust me, that's just the lads...! Don't be shy. I'll hold your hand for you.

Okay, so we're back in the early 1600s and freewheeling towards the end of the Ming dynasty. There's this Emperor, see, and he decides he's had enough of this guy Wei Zhongxian, who's supposed to be an 'all-powerful' Eunuch. But how powerful can a Eunuch be, after all, with zero ammunition in his boxers? We all know what being a Eunuch means...! Feckin' hell.

For whatever reason, however, the Emperor wants rid of the rather repulsive but incredibly rich Wei Zhongxian and it's none of our business why, or something like that. He sends the three stars of the movie to dispatch the Eunuch, three Imperial Assassins who are as deadly as they are cute. I think that cuteness in a guy is important, okay? I'm a woman, see? I rate most of the films I watch on the basis of whether or not there's a hot guy in it. Typical feminine logic...!

The three Assassins are not exactly on their A-game in the film, however. They each have their distractions, things which are taking their minds off their jobs. The very handsome lead Assassin, Shen Lian, is in love with a beautiful courtesan whose freedom he wants to buy so that the two of them can live happily ever after together.

But the stunning Zhou Miao Tong has another lover on her mind, a man who's in a precarious position indeed with the higher-ups. Would Shen Lian be doing the honourable thing by rescuing this other guy for the woman he himself loves, or would he just be making a colossal eejit of himself, saving his rival for the chick they both dig? It's decision time, crunch time even, for Shen Lian...

The other two Assassins have a lot on their collective plates as well. The lightly-bearded Lu
Jian Xing has just received a promotion which is terribly important to him but, when he finds out that no small amount of palm-greasing went into it and that he wasn't bumped upstairs purely on the basis of his own not inconsiderable talents with a sword, he goes ape and he starts looking for someone to blame, someone close to him...

Jin Yi Chuan, the third Assassin and the most baby-faced of the decidely attractive trio, is in love with the doctor's daughter and she certainly returns his strong feelings. But poor Jin Yi Chuan has that most despicable of persons, the Blackmailer, snapping at his heels for money he doesn't have and threatening to blab a secret of Jin's that Jin most definitely doesn't 'noised abroad,' as it were. What's he going to do to extricate himself from this unholy mess...?

The fighting scenes come fast and furious, like, about every five minutes, and they're just so fantastically-choreographed it's actually hard to imagine people doing all the stuff they're doing. 

I love the romantic sub-plots as well though, being female, and the blackmail sub-plot is great fun also. In a court that's already rank with the stench of corruption, it's just another little piece of nastiness to add to the general merriment.

BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES (2014) is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray, On Demand and Download courtesy of the jolly nice folk at SECOND SIGHT FILMS. It's a pretty timely release as BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES 2 is supposed to be coming out later on this summer. 

If you're a fan of the old wuxia flicks, you'll love this. Or, if you're just looking for something new and exciting to pass an evening, this is just the job too. Would I steer you guys wrong? Never in this world, I say. Never in this world...


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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