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Film / Bastard Swordsman

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Going Super Saiyan three years before Dragon Ball made it cool.

Bastard Swordsman is a 1983 wuxia fantasy film made by Shaw Brothers, starring Norman Chu, Anthony Lau Wing and Alex Man.

Using an idea that's been the norm since One-Armed Swordsman; Norman Chu stars as Yun Fei Yang, the often-bullied orphan outcast adopted in a kung-fu school, who is frequently the target of abuse and looked down by all his peers, save for Lun Wan-erh, the daughter of the school's founder. Every decade, the school is challenged by the rival Dugu Sect, in a martial arts tournament for supremacy, but when Chief Dugu Wu Di, a long-forgotten rival with a deadly vendetta and intention to have the school massacred, Yun Fei Yang unexpectedly finds himself fated to be The Chosen One to battle the Dugu clan.

A sequel is released just a year later, titled Return of the Bastard Swordsman. Yun Fei Yang, the unlikely hero of the first movie, having mastered the Silkworm Technique of kung fu, now travels the land to pass his teachings. But he'll need to contend with a group of ruthless samurai led by the warlord Mochitsuki Soryu Han (Chen Kuan-tai).


The Bastard Tropesman:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Yun Fei Yang is an outcast from his school and the most frequent target of bullying from his peers, to the point of making him a living target to use in dart-throwing practice.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: In their one-on-one duel, Master Qing Song leaps at Chief Dugu with his sword, unaware that the latter's skill have improved to the point where he's effectively invulnerable. He ends up having one serious Oh, Crap! moment when Chief Dugu grabs his blade with his bare hands without flinching.
  • Big Bad: Alex Man's Chief Dugu Wu Di leads the massacre of the martial school in order to avenge his grandfather's defeat decades ago. He's also willing to massacre everyone in the school to quench his thrist for vengeance.
  • Cloth Fu: Part of the Silkworm Technique allows its users to turn a rolled-up scroll of cloth into becoming absolutely stiff, until it can be used as an impromptu staff, a skill which Yun Fei Yang displays in both films.
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  • The Drifter: Yun Fei Yang by the end of the film, having defeated Chief Dugu, decides to go Walking the Earth to spread knowledge of the Silkworm Technique.
  • From Zero to Hero: Yun Fei Yang goes from humble servant and bullied outcast to becoming the hero destined to master the Silkworm Technique and save the martial world from Chief Dugu.
  • Humble Hero: Yun Fei Yang; even after earning his powers and is proven to be superior to his entire school, he doesn't even hold a grudge towards his former school who literally picked on him since he was born.
  • In a Single Bound: Typical for wuxia. Most skilled kung fu practitioners can leap all over the place with ease, and once Yun Fei Yang is bestowed with the Silkworm Technique kung fu he can even float with single jumps.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The martial school who viciously bullied Yun Fei Yang since the day he's adopted and treats him like their slave ends up being massacred by Chief Dugu, whose vendetta is against the school's founder, Master Qing Song, but decided to Leave No Survivors after the duel instead. Meanwhile, the bullied Yun Fei Yang, who was casted out of the school, ends up learning the "Silkworm Technique" kung fu and becomes strong enough to eventually defeat Chief Dugu, and in the aftermath one of the only survivors of the massacre is Wan-erh, Chief Dugu's daughter who sympathized with Yin Fei Yang and treats him like a actual human being.
  • Master of Threads: The practitioners of the Silkworm Technique can create silk threads with their chi. They can freely control these threads, either to entangle opponents or form a cocoon around themselves as a protective outer shell.
  • Nice Girl: Wan-erh is the daughter of the martial arts school's Chief and literally the only person in the school which doesn't treat Fei-Yang as an outcast, as well as actively cheering him up after he's bullied or beaten up in practice. Unfortunately, this only makes the hero more prone to being targeted by the seniors in the kung-fu school once she's not around.
  • Mystical White Hair: Yun Fei Yang, after mastering the "Silkworm Technique" kung fu which makes him effectively invincible, turns his hair from black to silver-white, a symbol of his upgraded power.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: The "Silkworm Technique" kung fu, upon being bestowed to the hero, gives Yun Fei Yang an entire head of silvery white hair.
  • Projectile Webbing: The "Silkworm Technique" can generate silk strands with qi, capable of tying up enemies or form coccoons around their users.
  • Shaping Your Attacks: In the final battle, Yun Fei Yang uses his qi from learning the Silkworm Technique to create whips out of internal energy.
  • Unlikely Hero: Yun Fei Yang unexpectedly finds himself destined to be chosen to learn the Silkworm Technique of martial arts, and is fated to save the entire martial world from the vengeful Dugu.
  • Wuxia

Return of the Bastard Tropesman:

  • Beat Still, My Heart: Mochitsuki Soryu Han is the Master of the "Heart Throw-Up Skill", which can force his victims' hearts out of their bodies in graphic details, as a few unfortunate challengers found out moments before their deaths.
  • Big Bad: Mochitsuki Soryu Han, the leader of the Ega Clan samurai who wants to slice a bloody path through China to establish their dominance.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Compared to the first film at least.
  • Challenge Seeker: Mochitsuki Soryu Han and his samurai underling travels across Asia seeking challenges to maintain their dominance in the martial world.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The previous film's main villain is a vengeful martial artist whose reasons for the many massacres committed is to avenge his grandfather's honour, while in the follow-up the villains are samurai warriors who doesn't have any affiliation with the clans, but are simply seeking challenges all over Asia.
  • A Father to His Men: Mochitsuki Soryu Han cares for his fellow samurai, treating them as brothers instead of mere henchmen, swearing revenge for Goro after the latter have died.
  • Fortune Teller: Subverted; the fortune teller early in the film is a charlatan and a scammer.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: Many of Mochitsuki Soryu Han's underlings are ninjas, who serves as the mooks for the heroes to contend with.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Goro, one of the samurai, slices two unfortunate soldiers by the waist during the ambush.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Come by this follow-up, Yun Fei Yang is now the legendary "Master of the Silkworm Technique", well-revered across the kung fu world.
  • Samurai: The villains of the sequel are a band of Ega Clan samurais who travelled to China in order to seek worthy challengers, and proves themselves to be dangerous opponents.
  • Wuxia: Like the original.