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Film / Golden Swallow

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I love it when DVD tells you right on the cover what you'll expect to see in the film itself!

Golden Swallow is a 1968 Wuxia Martial Arts Movie released by Shaw Brothers, sequel to Come Drink With Me, but this time the titular heroine (played by Cheng Pei-Pei) takes a backseat to a whole new character: Jimmy Wang Yu's Silver Roc, a mysterious swordsman and killing machine on a rampage across the clans of ancient China.

Jimmy Wang-yu, then 25 years old and fresh off the recent success of One-Armed Swordsman, is seen as potential star material by Shaw Brothers, and as such takes over the spotlight. His portrayal of Silver Roc (combined with his previous film, the martial arts classic The One Armed Swordsman) would establish him as an icon in wuxia cinema, with various similar historical period film roles coming his way. Here, his presence is electrifying, chilling, and domineering, with few words spoken, simply through his stoic persona, makes him a fan-favourite.

Following the events of Come Drink With Me, the swordswoman Golden Swallow discovers someone from her past is back, someone whom she assumed was dead long ago, and is making a name of himself - and her - because of the scores and scores of dead bodies he leaves behind everywhere he goes. Her former protégé, Silver Roc, is bent on reuniting with her, just as Golden Swallow is engaged in a relationship with Iron Whip (Lo Lieh). And when Silver Roc's enemies catches up with him, making Golden Swallow and Iron Whip the target of assassins as well, the trio will have to team up and fight.

… or, to be more precise, Golden Swallow and Iron Whip takes a backseat, and fight whatever morsels of leftover mooks Silver Roc forgot to kill during his massacres.

The film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Badass in Distress: Golden Swallow, in the opening scene, gets incapacitated and captured alive, until Iron Whip arrives to bail her out.
  • Calling Card: Silver Roc, after killing hordes of bandits and enemy swordsmen, would leave behind darts in the shape of golden swallows on their corpses. This is what made Golden Swallow realized the mysterious Silver Roc from her past is coming back.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Silver Roc, combined with Died Standing Up with both eyes still open, after killing the last 60-odd mooks sent to kill him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Nearly every battle Silver Roc gets involved in ends with him on the winning side. Its taken to ridiculous extremes in the lair battle where Silver Roc have to face 4 Mook Lieutenant sent after him... which he killed in 10 seconds flat. That scene is followed by Silver Roc entering an underground cavern, guarded by the 18 Guardians, the best of the Elite Mook squadron... and Silver Roc kills them all in less than a minute.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Right before the climatic final battle, Silver Roc accidentally gets the tip of Iron Whip's... erm, whip, embedded into his chest, which makes him just vulnerable enough to finally die in the final showdown.
  • Death of a Child: Farmer Chang's son, see Seppuku.
  • Demoted to Extra: Golden Swallow who is the main character from Come Drink With Me takes a backseat, to accomodate the then-upcoming popularity of Jimmy Wang Yu.
  • The Dreaded: Silver Roc, hands down. His name strikes terror in the souls of evil-doers and have them running with their tails between their legs.
  • Dual Wielding: Silver Roc uses two swords simultaneously, which allows him to kill twice the amount of enemies, twice as fast, in fight scenes.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Silver Roc, whom have killed the final Big Bad, takes on The Remnant... single-handedly. All 60 of them. And winning, although he succumbs to his injuries a few seconds later, standing in a valley full of corpses.
  • Facial Horror: Many of Silver Roc’s victims are killed by having their faces carved apart by his sword, in rather graphic detail too.
  • Flat Character: Most of the bandit leaders and clan bosses, whose characterizations boils down to "ordering minions to fight Silver Roc, flee when things go south, get caught by Silver Roc and die by his sword..."
  • Good Is Not Soft: Silver Roc may be on the side of good, but he's really ruthless and not a nice guy at all, as listed on various examples on this list.
  • Gorn: Plenty of these shows up throughout the film, with loads of gore and blood from extras. Also on Silver Roc himself during his Last Stand.
  • Hate Sink: The Chao brothers are a pair of corrupt landlords whom are willing to stomp on poor farmers and civilians. When the Changs, a farming family, refuse to sell their land to the brothers, they willingly framed farmer Chang's son for stealing and eating a goose, demanding the farmer to hand over his entire land for compensation. They ordered the farmer to be whipped for failing to pay for the allegedly stolen goose, forcing the young boy to disembowel himself to prove his innocence, and then kill off farmer Chang, causing Chang's wife to go insane from losing her family in one morning. Completely without remorse, their very next appearance is them ordering their mooks to tear down the farm to build their new mansion. Of the hundreds of victims slain by Silver Roc, the Chao brothers deserved their comeuppance more than anybody else.
  • I Have a Family: One of the last mooks working for the Chao brothers pleads with Silver Roc that he still have a mother at home he need to take care. Silver Roc still carves his face like a pumpkin anyways.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: One scene in the bandits' underground hideout have several captives being executed by guillotines... positioned at waist-level. The audience get to see more than one captive getting bisected from the waist, with copious amounts of gore and blood.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Silver Roc's crush and a potential love rival for Golden Swallow, is a prostitute whom is actually kind and cares for the people around her.
  • Human Pincushion: During his final stand, after Silver Roc slays the first wave of enemies, a second wave with a few archers included fires their arrows at him, landing several arrows into Silver Roc. He responds by pulling out some of the arrows embedded in his torso and throw them into the faces of the archers, then continue kicking ass.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens in a battle scene in a bamboo garden, between Silver Roc and 4 Mook Lieutenant set after him. Silver Roc slice a bamboo tree into half, then knocks one of the mooks backwards, where he ends up a human on a bloodied bamboo stick.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: One (of the 180 or so) of Silver Roc’s many victims is killed when Silver Roc shoved his sword into his opponent’s mouth, all the way to the throat region.
  • In a Single Bound: Plenty of characters have abilities to leap high and far distances with a single jump. Pretty standard wuxia fare.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: The final confrontation between Silver Roc and Iron Whip. They’re not battling each other to death, but merely trying to prove their superiority in martial arts. Before a clear winner is decided though, Golden Swallow arrives and stops the dueling men.
  • Love Triangle: Between Silver Roc, Golden Swallow, and Iron Whip. It ends with Silver Roc's death.
  • Man on Fire: After going through the underground dungeon where the bandits are gathered, and killing all 100 of the bandits gathered within, Silver Roc made sure there are no survivors by setting the place on fire before leaving. Cue two bandits who escaped Silver Roc's initial rampage, only to be caught by the fire, rushing out of the dungeon with their entire bodies set alight.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Every single male character including Silver Roc that is not Iron Whip and have more than two lines of dialogue ends up dead before the credits. Of the 200-plus people who died onscreen, ALL of them are men.
  • Mutual Kill: After killing majority of the final wave of mooks sent after him, 4 Elite Mook armed with whips and daggers manage to ensnare the badly-wounded Silver Roc through his arms and legs, and then stab Silver Roc fatally in the gut (with ALL 4 of their daggers!). But Silver Roc is still holding his sword, and kills the last 4 mooks, before he stood up... and expires.
  • Offhand Backhand: Silver Roc does this with swords, casually slicing up mooks sneaking behind him without even looking.
  • One-Man Army: Silver Roc, hands-down. He slays roughly an average of 2.5 mooks per minute of the film's overall run-time.
  • One-Hit Kill: Silver Roc, who can slay up to 5 mooks with a single swipe of his sword. He makes killing look so easy!
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Subverted. Silver Roc's name is Yin-peng, but nobody really calls him that name. Not even the prostitute who had a crush on him.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Silver Roc was assumed to be dead until his reappearance.
  • Rugged Scar: Silver Roc have a threatening one on his forehead, which is a gash he received when his family gets massacred by bandits when he was a child.
  • Secondary Character Title: Golden Swallow plays second fiddle to Silver Roc in this movie, despite being the titular character.
  • Seppuku: This happens to farmer Chang's son, barely 10 years of age, during the Chao brothers' hostile takeover scene, where the boy (being framed for stealing and eating an expensive goose) is forced to disembowel himself to prove his innocence. And the audience get to see it in great detail, too, with copious amounts of accompanying Gorn.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: In the underground cavern battle, Silver Roc had to battle 9 mooks that attempts to corner him with shields. He simply jumps above their shields and kills all of them.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Majority of the battles Silver Roc finds himself in is like these, with the victims getting sliced up the moment they and Silver Roc starts making a move.
  • Staircase Tumble: Featured in the hideout battle where Silver Roc have to climb upwards to reach where the Dragon Clan’s quarters are located. More than thirty mooks shows up at the top of the stairs, but Silver Roc merely carves a bloody path through the mooks sending 30 or so dead bodies tumbling down the stairs one after another. Golden Swallow and Iron Whip arrives much later, and is utterly shocked to see the pile of corpses at the bottom of the stairs.
  • The Stoic: Silver Roc seldom speaks, or show emotions, before, during, and after killing scores of mooks. Although he does get a Not So Stoic look on his face when he realized he's fatally wounded in the end.
  • Wire Fu: Well, its a wuxia film, that's expected to happen.