Released in 2005, Seven Swords ( 七劍 ) is a Hong Kong wuxia movie very loosely based on Lian Yusheng’s novel Quijan Xia Tianshan. The plot is also similar to Akie Kurosawa’s 1954 movie Seven Samurai, with a motley crew of seven warriors agreeing to risk their lives to protect a village. Seven Swords was selected to be the opening film of the 2005 Venice Film Festival, as an homage to Akira Kurosawa.
Unlike Seven Samurai, which takes place in Japan, Seven Swords is set in 17th century China, where the Qing dynasty has just outlawed martial arts. The corrupt officer Fire-Wind sets ut to enforce the ban, making a fortune in the process by plundering civilians. As he and his men approache Martial Village, the old executioner Fu Qingzhu sets out together with two young villagers to find warriors willing to protect the community and put an end to Fire-Wind’s raids. He finds four other swordsmen, and the mysterious swordsmith Master Shadow-Glow equippes each of the seven men with a unique and powerful sword.
The film’s director Tsui Hark both co-produced the movie and co-wrote the screenplay, and the movie starrs Leon Lai, Donnie Yen, Charlie Yeung, Sun Honglei, Lu Yi, and Kim So-yeon.
The movie was well recieved in Asia and was nominated for numerous awards in Hong Kong and China. Outside Asia, the reviews were more mixed, and generally not favorable. In the United States, the movie only got a limited release in theatres.
The initial cut made by Angie Lam was a four hour long movie, but the distributors worried that such a long film would scare away the audience, so Tsui Hark re-edited the film and created two shorter versions: one 150 minutes and one 120 minutes. The 150 minutes version was the one that was ultimately selected for theatres.
|English title||Seven Swords|
|Lenght||2 hours and 33 minutes|
|Budget||18 million USD|
|Box office||3,473,290 USD|
Behind the scenes
|Screenplay by||Tsui Hark
|Music by||Kenji Kawai|
|Edited by||Angie Lam|
|Distributeed by||Mandarin Films Distribution Co. Ltd.
Eng Wah Cinema
The Weinstein Company
|Donnie Yen||Chu Zhaonan||Wielder of the Dragon sword|
|Leon Lai||Yang Yuncong||Wielder of the Transience sword|
|Lau Kar-leung||Fu Qinzhu||Wielder of the Unlearnt sword|
|Charlie Yeung||Wu Yuanying||Wielder of the Heven’s Fall sword|
|Lu Yi||Han Zhibang||Wielder of the Diety sword|
|Duncan Chow||Muland||Wielder of the Celestial Beam sword|
|Tai Li-wu||Xin Longzi||Wielder of the Star Chasers sword|
|Sun Honglei||Fire-Wind||Warlord and currupt officer|
|Kim So-yeon||Green Pearl||Fire-Wind’s slave from Korea|
|Ma Jingwu||Shadow-Glow||Swordsmith and swordsman|
|Jason Pai||Liu Jingyi||Village chief|
|Zhang Jingchu||Liu Yufang||Liu Jingyi’s (the chief) daughter
Lover of Han Zhibang’s
|Michael Wong||Prince Dokado||Manchu nobility|
|Chi Kuan-chun||Qiu Dongluo||Villager|
|Huang Peng||Guan Sandao||Villager|
|Zhang Chao||Zhang Huazhao||Villager|
|Xie Zhang||Bald Lion||One of Fire-Wind’s warriors|
|Wang Chi-man||Dagger Peak||One of Fire-Wind’s warriors|
|Zhang Jie||Hair Wolf||One of Fire-Wind’s warriors|
|Guo Fengqiang||Black Spirit||One of Fire-Wind’s warriors|
|Tang Tengfei||Stone Beast||One of Fire-Wind’s warriors|
|Liu Zhenbao||Mud Trot||One of Fire-Wind’s warriors|
|Liu Mingzhe||Jiacoci||One of Fire-Wind’s warriors|
|Li Haitao||Siyilang||One of Fire-Wind’s warriors|
|Jiang Guangjin||Sanzi||One of Fire-Wind’s warriors|
|Lin Haibin||Sangen||One of Fire-Wind’s warriors|
|Jia Kun||Bangmuzi||One of Fire-Wind’s warriors|
- During the filming of the ending fight scene, Donnie Yen accidently injured Sun Honglei because Yen erroneosly assumed that Honglei was trained in martial arts. Honglei was rushed to a hospital in Beijing with an injury near the eye. Since his eye sight wasn’t impaired by the injury, he went back to Xinjiang a day later to finnish his scenes.
- Tsui Hark originally planned for Seven Swords to be the first in a franchise consisting of a total of six movies. So far, these plans have not been realized.