Follow TV Tropes


Film / 14 Blades

Go To
14 Blades is a 2010 Wuxia film starring Donnie Yen, Wu Chun, Kate Tsui and Sammo Hung. It's also a semi-remake of the older Shaw Brothers film, Secret Service of the Imperial Court.

Donnie Yen stars as Qinglong, an elite assassin and member of the Jinyiwei (Embroidered Uniform Guard), a covert assassination unit established by the Ming Imperial Court. Himself the best of the assassins and the commander, Qinglong is on a mission to retrieve an Imperial seal, but finds himself betrayed and hunted during the mission, where he ends up joining a rebel unit dedicated to overthrow the Imperial court.

Apparently, Donnie Yen took on this role as a villain (although he's more of an Anti-Hero to be precise) as he "wanted to tackle the role of a villain who discovers his humanity." If his role in this film really counts as villainous, then it would be Donnie Yen's first villainous roles in almost two decades, the last time being in Once Upon A Time In China II and New Dragon Inn.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The bonding scene between Qinglong and Qiao Wei’s family, the bathhouse scene, and the scene after Qinglong’s brief fight with Judge.
  • Anti-Hero: Qinglong himself. His Establishing Character Moment in the Action Prologue have him killing more than twenty guards and executing an enemy of the Imperial court, right in front of his family, although at least he left his opponent’s children and wife alive.
  • The Atoner: Qinglong, after joining the rebels.
  • Bad with the Bone: Qinglong, with his sword sheathed and eating his lunch, beats up a bandit using a piece of chicken drumstick.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Happens during the battle between Qinglong and Fawang in the forest, where Qinglong blocks his opponent's halberd with his bare hands.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: In the aftermath of the failed rebellion, Prince Qing opts to instead kill himself rather than stand trial.
  • BFS: Out of the 14 blades Qinglong carries with him at all times, at least three of these are this trope. He can also combine two swords into a Bifurcated Weapon if he needs a bigger sword.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Imperial assassins are all dead, the rebellion is overthrown, but Qinglong gives up his life to overthrow the legion of killers he used to work for.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the setting, there is relatively few, if any, traces of blood in the movie. Especially blatant in the scene where the Judge uses his homing blade to slice up seven assassins’ throats all at once, and in the next scene when the blade returns to his hand, its completely clean without a single drop of blood!
  • Contract on the Hitman: Qinglong used to be the best assassin of the Imperial court, but when he decides to ditch the court after being betrayed, the rest of the assassins are out for his blood.
  • Cool Helmet: The Jinyiwei all wears a really cool, broad rimmed helmet.
  • Cool Sword: Qinglong naturally owns 14 of them.
  • Dead Guy on Display: In the Action Prologue, Qinglong leaves the bloodied carcass of a guard he killed in the hall of his target, stunning them momentarily for him to reveal himself later on.
  • Furo Scene: One of these between Qinglong and Qiao Hua after the forest battle. Qinglong, in particular, gets a LOT of close-ups on his wet, glistening chest and abs. Even the character posters and promotional materials heavily emphasizes him in this scene!
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: Tuo-tuo's appearance is meant to invoke one, with her hairstyle, ethereal-looking makeup, and reputation that every men who crosses her ends up dead.
  • Hero Killer: Tuo-tuo, the Dark Action Girl, whose body count consists of most of the named characters who isn’t Qinglong.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Qinglong means Green Dragon in Chinese. Its assumed to be just a nickname, but as it turns out the Jinyiwei assassins are raised from birth to be killers and they don’t have any actual names, as proof of their allegiance to the court.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Qinglong does this regularly. The forest battle had him nailing enemy assassins to trees using his BFS.
  • King Mook: Fawang (played by veteran badass Chen Kuan-tai), leader of the squadron sent to the forest to kill Qinglong, who uses a spear as his preferred weapon. He’s also the Disc-One Final Boss for the first act, strangled by Qinglong.
  • La Résistance: The Desert bandit rebels that opposes the Imperial Court, which Qinglong become allies with in an Enemy Mine moment.
  • Leave No Survivors: The Jinyiwei assassins. In their attempts to hunt down Qinglong, they silence every single witness who saw him, leaving behind piles of dead bodies.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: The Judge of the Desert, played by Cantopop singer Wu Chun. Also known as Mr. Fanservice number two after Qinglong.
  • MacGuffin Escort Mission: The Imperial Seal that Qinglong is required to guard with his life, with legions of killers after it and willing to kill him to retrieve.
  • Morality Pet: Qiao Hua, to Qinglong. His bonding with her makes him realize his misdeeds as an imperial assassin and begin his defection to the side of good.
  • Opening Monologue: The opening scene which is Deliberately Monochrome and explains to the audience the origin of the Jinyiwei assassins, their allegiance to the court, and relays the overall plot of the subsequent film.
  • Palm Bloodletting: The opening scene features Sammo Hung’s Prince Qing slicing his own palm open and dripping the blood on his armour for an initiation ritual.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Judge’s weapon is a double-sided Sinister Scimitar which can be flung and slice through rows of enemies before returning to his hand.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Before the final confrontation, the Judge, one of the most important protagonists besides Qinglong, gets killed by Tuo-tuo to establish her as a threat.
  • Slashed Throat: Given the number of characters using swords and blades, this is expected.
  • Taking You with Me: With all his enemies dead and Tuo-tuo being his last opponent, Qinglong decides to grab on to her, and activate one last Booby Trap on his chest of weapons, which releases three long darts that impales both Tuo-tuo and himself in a One-Hit Polykill.
  • Tattoo as Character Type:
    • Each and every member of the Jinyiwei assassins have a tattoo on their chests as symbol of their allegiance. Qinglong’s tattoo can be seen rather clearly in his Walking Shirtless Scene.
    • Dark Action Girl Tuo-tuo have hers on her shoulder.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Qiao Hua has this response when she (assisted by Qinglong) impales an assassin through the chest, and then seeing the assassin’s face as he bleeds out.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Prince Qing’s rebellion is what kicks off the source of all the bloodshed in the movie, although he himself didn’t partake directly in the action scenes.
  • Walking Armory: Qinglong have a tricked out chest filled with weapons which is surprisingly light, and can be carried on his back at all times. Contained inside are the titular 14 blades, loads of throwing knives, crossbows, darts, and various booby traps.
  • Whip Sword: Tuo-tuo’s weapon of choice, which she can use as an Epic Flail for flexibility if she wants to.
  • Worthy Opponent: Qinglong and the Judge considers each other to be this, which makes their alliance in the ending battle possible.