The Magic Blade (1976) Review: Life Is A Game of Chess

I have always admired those who play chess and are good at it because I don’t know how to play or even know the rules. It seems to require a lot of strategy. I would love to learn how to play one day. It sounds like a difficult game and a game which involves having a sharp mind. Magic Blade, directed by Chu Yuan, is a film revolving around this concept. It’s an action adventure martial arts film with plenty of cool quotes. One of them is “I don’t kill unarmed woman.” The phrase was used towards a flamboyant opponent who had no sword but his hands as a weapon. And the phrase is said again later in this film when his opponent is female, but this time he said, “but you have a weapon.” The protagonist is like a Chinese Clint Eastwood, played by the actor Lung Ti. He just has an air of coolness to him. He doesn’t follow anyone rules and yet he has a sense of deep integrity as a swordsman, which is quite admirable. Plus the choreography in this film is quite entertaining because the protagonist looked so cool beating up the underworld martial artists. It left me feeling good as if I was him beating up the bad people. However, it’s not all just cool in that sense. The film has a deeper meaning beyond the fighting and being the best.

To be on top, means to have no friends and thus you’d find yourself in a lonely place. That same statement can be said just about anything. The wealthier and more famous you become, the less friends you have. I often wonder is that why so many famous people are so depressed and alone? What’s the point of playing chess in real life if your hair will grow grey and you become old and weary from losing your throne? To be king of the martial arts world means death because you are always watching your back–afraid that you’d get attack.

Overall, it’s a great film. I watched it three times. It’s so romantically philosophical and poetic. It’s a reminder not to lose sight of our humanity in the pursuit of our ambition. We want to be the best, but if not careful, we’d end up in a very lonely place.

I watched this on on Amazon Prime Video. It’s free for streaming if you are a prime member, and no I am not advertising Amazon Prime Video. It’s just in case you want to watch the film.

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Halsdoll

I write reflective reviews on video games, films, books & more.

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