Seven Swords review

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Not only have the visuals of Crouching Tiger sent the profile of 'wuxia pian' (martial arts movies) soaring, but they've also increased expectations. So it's likely popcorn-chompers seeing this tale of violent rebellion in the oppressive China of the 1660s may be disappointed by its relatively earthy production. Except for a breathtaking fight around the walls of a narrow corridor, there's little to really compete with balletic wire-work blockbusters. But what director/writer Tsui Hark's movie does have is a multi-layered story, an undeniably hateful villain, cool-as-hell weapons, gorgeous mountains and some fierce, if hammy, battles. Hark also manages to cram in emotions - a love triangle, in fact - while steering clear of some of the overblown schmaltz that can mar these martial arts epics. Hack'n'slash fun, then, but lacking in killer crossover appeal.

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