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Film / A Taste Of Cold Steel

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A Taste of Cold Steel is a 1970 Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Movie starring Chang Yi. It is a sequel to Rape of the Sword, released 3 years earlier, but with Chang playing a new character.

After the death of Master Gan from the previous film, Gan's daughters - Gan Sheng-nan, Gan Ya-nan and Gan Chiu-nan - are ready to take the Gan family's treasured heirloom, the powerful Purple Light Sword, to the Imperial Court for safekeeping to prevent it from falling to the wrong hands. Unfortunately, the evil Prince Lu, who wants the sword for himself intending to usurp the throne, had his minions attack the funeral, nearly succeeding in making off with the powerful weapon until he is thwarted by Hero Hsu Chiu (Chang Yi), the sisters' elder cousin and a righteous swordsman who returned from a faraway campaign to attend Master Lu's funeral.


When Prince Lu's treachery is made public, he then decides to ally himself with the Five Tigers Clan, a legion of bloodthirsty bandits, to claim the Purple Light Sword by force.

A Tropes of Cold Steel:

  • Action Girl: The Gan sisters. All of them. Most of the ass-kicking and fights goes to the second sister Ya-nam however.
  • All Men Are Perverts: How did Prince Lu, outnumbered and cornered by the Five Tigers Bandits, convince them to assist in his second raid on the Gan family mansion? By telling them how beautiful and attractive the three Gan sisters are, and how they can have their fun ravaging the sisters after helping him steal the Purple Light Sword.
  • Animal Motifs: The five villains are all named after Tigers.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: When the bandits led by Prince Lu assault the Gan family’s mansion, Prince Lu orders them to ambush the place by setting it on fire, leading to a massive fight sequence with fire burning everywhere.
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  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Prince Lu, upon his defeat and losing the Purple Light Sword, instead chose to eliminate himself via Self-Immolation.
  • Beyond Redemption: Priest Shi-kung actually uses this phrase to describe Prince Lu as the latter hurls himself into a fire.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Prince Lu forged an alliance with the bandit gang known as the Five Tigers in order to rob the Purple Light Sword for himself, promising the Tiger Leader and his underlings that they can have the wealth and gold from the Gan Mansion as well as the Gan sisters, while he keeps the powerul sword for himself.
  • Big Good: Taoist Shi-kung, a former legendary warrior who has left the world of martial arts and became a priest, and one of the most powerful members on the side of good, who rejoins Hsu and the Gan sisters to prevent Prince Lu from taking over the throne.
  • Cool Sword: The Purple Light Sword of the Gan family’s patriarch, whose purple glowing blade bestows it’s wielder with near-invincibility and expert swordsmanship. That is the weapon that was stolen by Prince Lu early on and the Gan sisters and their cousin Hsu Chiu have to retrieve for most of the film.
  • Dutch Angle: More than one shot focused on Prince Lu is taken in this method, after he allied himself with the Five Tigers, establishing that he is the villain of the picture.
  • Enemy Civil War: Right at the end of the film when Prince Lu finally got the Purple Light Sword for himself, he immediately decides to bail from his former bandit allies, causing the Five Tigers to order their minions to subdue Prince Lu instead. Which results in Prince Lu killing several of his former allies while fighting off Hsu and the Gan sisters at the same time, leading to a rather short Mêlée à Trois.
  • The Evil Prince: The Big Bad of this picture is Prince Lu, who intends to steal the Purple Light Sword to usurp the throne and take over the Imperial Court.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The villain called One-Eyed Tiger wears an eyepatch over his right.
  • Eye Scream: In the final battle, the One-eyed Tiger’s one good eye ends up getting ripped out by Priest Shi-kung’s horsetail brush.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Right in the opening of the film, there is Prince Lu attending Master Gan’s funeral and offering his condolences… before revealing he’s after Master Gan’s treasured sword, leading to a big fight scene where the Prince’s mercenaries swarms the funeral hall and kills almost everyone there, until Hsu Chiu shows up to save the day.
  • Gorn: Right after the One-eyed Tiger got his other eye ripped out, the film closes in on the gaping, bleeding hole where that eye used to be, with rather realistic-looking blood gushing all over the place.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Priest Shi-kung’s preferred weapon is a horsetail taiji brush. It looks something like this. And it helps Shi-kung kick a whole lot of ass in the final battle. Since this is a Wuxia film, this is expected.
  • Mook Lieutenant: The Five Tiger Bandits are the lieutenants to their own bandit army, whose ranks consist of dozens upon dozens of lesser mooks which they’re seen leading in several big fight scenes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Hsu’s attempt to steal the Purple Light Sword from the Tiger Leader is interrupted by Gan Ya-nan barging in at the wrong time, her oblivious to Hsu being undercover to steal the sword from the leader. This results in their contact, the doctor, getting killed by the Tiger Leader in a rage.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Why is the Purple Light Sword called as such? Because upon being unsheathed, it’s blade emanates a powerful purple glow that illuminates every corner of its surroundings within a radius of several meters.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The Gan family’s cousin, Hsu Chiu, was absent in the previous movie, Rape of the Sword and shows up early in this sequel, and yet the Gan sisters sounds like they knew him the whole time and doesn’t even question his sudden appearance.
  • Self-Immolation: Prince Lu dies at the end of the film by throwing himself into a burning fire, combined with Face Death with Dignity, as all failed usurpers do.
  • Sibling Team: The three Gan sisters, Gan Sheng-nan, Gan Ya-nan and Gan Chiu-nan, who kicks ass as a team against plenty of mooks.
  • Whip It Good: The One-Eyed Tiger uses a whip as his preferred weapon.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Prince Lu doesn’t even hesitate trying to rough up and kill the Gan sisters getting in his way in his attempts to steal the sword.
  • Wuxia