Seven Swords (15) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Based on Liang Yusheng's wuxia novel, Tsui Hark's martial arts epic has a proper sense of scale but struggles to impose itself on the audience in terms of characterisation or narrative energy.

Its tale of a brave band of 16th-century warriors fighting to save a rural community from a vicious regime has illustrious antecedents, of course, and for a while one hopes that Hark and his fight choreographers will offer something to rival Zhang Yimou's recent forays into ancient history, Hero and The House of Flying Daggers.

But, alas, the wirework is pro forma stuff, and the swordplay, despite a nifty variation on the retractable blade, is very far from cutting edge.

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