The Sentimental Swordsman (1977)

The Sentimental Swordsman is based off of  Gu Long‘s Xiaoli Feidao Series of novels. Like many of Gu Long’s characters these heroes, and villains, are larger than life both in personality and martial abilities.  As with many of Gu Long’s books this story has several directions it takes and a multitude of characters, sects, and relationships which Shaw Brothers seemed to cram into 96 minutes. I’m assuming this is done to please the fans of Gu Long’s books and was done much better than the Brave Archer.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the Brave Archer but if I hadn’t already known the story then the movie would have been a bit hard to follow.

The basis of the story is several people are trying to get the ‘gold armour shirt’, capture the Plum Blossom Thief, and frame, kill, ambush, or capture Little Flying Dagger Li. Li can only count on his faithful servant Chuan Jia and his new friend Ah Fe.

Shaw Brothers made two more films, the sequel Return of the Sentimental Swordsman (1981) and the “third sequel” Perils of the Sentimental Swordsman which is not about Little Flying Dagger Li but based off of the Lu Xiaofeng novel series.

Although some of the actions scenes seemed a bit too choreographed the amount of skill to do those maneuvers in one long scene is impressive. There is little in the way of camera trickery or edits to make the characters(actors) look like they are martial artists.  Also the movie is not dominated by one fight scene after another.  There is enough story to allow for character development and give you time to get invested in them.  Mostly filmed in sets there are however a few locations shots in the winter which are very pleasant and help set the scene for the film.

The Sentimental Swordsman is currently available on Amazon Prime with the original language track and English subtitles.

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Chor Yuen, Director, script

Huang Pei-Chih, Action Director

Tong Kai, Action Director
Ti Lung (Five Shaolin Masters, The Avenging Eagle, Warriors of the Yang Clan) as Little Flying Dagger Li
Ching Li (Duel of Fists, The Web of Death, Shaolin and Wu Tang) as Lin Xian Er
Derek Yee Tung-Sing (Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, Full Moon Scimitar, The Supreme Swordsman) as Ah Fei
Yueh Hua (Vengeance Is a Golden Blade, The 14 Amazons, The Invincible Swordswoman) as Long Xiao Yun
Candice Yu On-On (Swordsman Adventure, Swordsman 2, Death Duel) as Shi Yin
Fan Mei-Sheng (One-Armed Swordsman, The 14 Amazons, Postman Strikes Back) as Chuan Jia, Little Flying Dagger Li’s man servant
Ku Feng (The Flying Dagger, Return of the One-Armed Swordsman, A Chinese Ghost Story II ) as Zhao Zheng Yi
Norman Chu Siu-Keung (The Flying Guillotine, The Web of Death, Sword Master) as Iron Flute
Ngaai Fei (The Spiritual Boxer, The Mad Monk, The Duel of the Century) as Iron Sword Tian Qi
Yuen Wah (Kung Fu Hustle, Swordsman 1, Mr. Vampire) as You Long Sheng
Ku Wen-Chung (Vengeance Is a Golden Blade, The Iron Buddha, Flying Guillotine, Part II) as Gong Sun
Cheng Miu (Princess Iron Fan, Golden Swallow, Disciples of the 36th Chamber) as Shaolin Abbot
Yeung Chi-Hing (Revenge of a Swordswoman, Five Swordsmen, Shaolin Prince) as Monk Xin Mei
Ku Kuan-Chung (The Spiritual Boxer, Judgement of an Assassin, The Brave Archer) as Monk Xin Jian
Chan Shen (The Master of Kung Fu, Swordsman and Enchantress, Return of the Bastard Swordsman) as Shaolin monk
Wang Sha (Heroes Shed No Tears, The Boxer from the Temple) as Doctor Mei Er
Shum Lo (The Sword of Swords, Heads for Sale, Disciples of the 36th Chamber) as Hua Feng
Lee Sau-Kei (The Birth of the Monkey King, Priceless Sword, Sword Stained with Royal Blood) as Zhu Ge Lei
Fung Hak-On (Have Sword, Will Travel, Duel of Fists, The Legendary Amazons) as White Snake
Alan Chui Chung-San (Come Drink with Me, The Web of Death, Shaolin Temple Against Lama) as Black Snake

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Other series based off of  Xiaoli Feidao Series

  • The Romantic Swordsman (1978 TV series)
  • Return of the Sentimental Swordsman (1981)
  • Duoqing Jianke Wuqing Jian (1993 TV series)
  • The Romantic Swordsman (1995 TV series)
  • Legend of Dagger Li (1999 TV series)
  • Flying Daggers (2003)
  • Xiaoli Feidao (2008 TV series)
  • The Magic Blade (2012 TV series)
  • Bordertown Prodigal (2016 TV series)
  • The Legend of Flying Daggers (2017 TV series)

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