99 Cycling Swords
What a treat this Polly Shang Kwan film turned
out to be. It has the quota of action expected from a kung-fu film, but
on top of that it has a terrifically charming performance from Polly. That
was not unexpected, as Polly often is much more playful in her interpretations
of her characters than most of the other kung-fu females were. She was
considered an actress as much as an action star and in fact one time won
the Taiwanese Best Actress award.
In this slightly convoluted story Polly is one
among many trying to track down a mysterious man in white who is attempting
to bring back the Ching dynasty to power. As this mystery man always wears
a hat low over his face no one knows what he looks like and everyone becomes
a suspect during the film. As the suspects slowly get killed off the list
narrows down to only a few – sort of like an Agatha Christie novel but
with a lot more mayhem!
Polly show up one day – coincidentally all dressed
in white – and has to fight off a roomful of attackers before she convinces
them that she is not the man they are looking for. I say the “man” because
Polly is disguised as a male for nearly all of the film. The fact that
she is small, cute and has breasts doesn’t seem to clue anyone in.
This scenario produces some sexual confusion as
she tells another man that she loves him – and though he has appeared to
be attracted to Polly has to tell him that he doesn’t swing that way. Polly
pops up though as her own twin sister to capture the man’s heart. At the
same time, for much of the film another female is quite infatuated with
the disguised Polly.
The film has a large number of fight scenes and
many of them have imaginative touches and lots of highflying acrobatics
and use of some wire work to jump into trees and such. Lo Lieh shows up
as well from time to time – and it turns out that he is promised in an
arranged marriage to Polly – and is looking for her everywhere. Little
does he know!
My rating for this film: 7.0