Hong Kong ,  1969
Directed by Lo Wei.
The chief of the Golden Sword lodge gets hauled off by masked riders, and is never seen again. His son, Bai Yu Lung (Kao Yuen) resolves to find him, and travels to the frontier in his search. While there, he befriends Ngai Jin Gung, a beggar/thief who turns out to be a beautiful woman (Cheng Pei Pei). It must have been confusing for wandering swordsmen back then, what with the sheer volume of cross dressers. At last they discover that the masked riders belong to the Dragon Palace, an all-woman kingdom that naturally must have an all-male slave labor camp. Our two heroes show astounding prowess early in the picture, capturing an opponents sword with chopsticks; defeating the villainous "Three Cripples" (led by a one-eyed Ku Feng) in only 10 stances -- but by the end they are almost totally ineffectual against the Dragon Palace, making the final reel drag considerably compared to the fast-paced action that came before. At a time when director Cheng Cheh was seeing great success delivering "staunch masculinity" to audiences hungry for it, Lo Wei kept the fighting swordswoman alive in Hong Kong Cinema in a series of films starring Cheng Pei Pei, THE GOLDEN SWORD being just one -- not the best by a long shot, but good enough for a marginal recommendation.
Posted by Peter Nepstad on October 25, 2005.