In the early 1600's, the Manchurians have assumed sovereignty and established the Ching Dynasty. A highly oppressive reign thus began. To fight against the brutality of the new government and save the innocent, seven unlikely heroes gathered together and became the Seven Swords.
Based on the novel by Yusheng Liang - Seven Swordsmen from Mountain Tian, the movie tells the story of a group of seven 17th century martial arts fighters each with a unique sword (hence the film's title) and their battle against an evil baron. The baron is set on collecting their heads, and the heads of the villagers they protect, in an attempt to collect the bounty the emperor has placed on all martial arts practitioners.
Sadly the swords (show above) are never shown in any detail, a shame considering the workmanship that has gone into each individual design. Each sword has its own fighting style and name, going from left to right in the image above: The Heaven's Fall (Tian Pu), The Dragon (You Long), The Deity (She Shen), The Unlearn (Mo Wen), The Star-Chasers (Jing Xing), The Transience (Qing Gan) and The Celestial Beam (Ri Yue).
Three cuts of the film were made, the first running at over 4 hours! This was then cut to 150 and finally down to a too short 120 minutes. It was the 150 minute version that has received a theatrical release, but the full 4 hours version is currently set to appear on DVD this year.
The final cinematic release is a sadly disjointed and badly edited result, with many scenes missing that could improve the story. History that would flesh out the 7 main characters has been cut as well as the origins of the swords themselves.
Plenty of action and severed limbs but sadly missing the characterisation that would have made the film worth watching.
Review by Paul