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Film / Swordswomen Three

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I repeat, this is NOT the third installment of a trilogy. Despite what the title claims.

Swordswomen Three is a 1970 Wuxia film produced by Shaw Runme of the Shaw Brothers, starring Essie Lin-chia, Chang Yi and Lo Lieh.

The leading clan of the martial arts world, the Han family, is known for their Master's invincible super-sword, the Mighty Steel Sword, guarded by Master Han and his daughters, the three Han sisters. Two swordsmen of different allegiances, Xu Jin-wu (Chang Yi) and Chu Tien-hsiang (Lo Lieh) are both competing for the affection of the eldest sister, Han Lan-mei, and while the former genuinely pins for Lan-mei, the latter only thirsts for power and desires to get his hands on the Mighty Steel Sword at all costs.


Swordswoman Three contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: The Han sisters, all of them.
  • Battle Couple: Xu Jin-wu and Han Lan-mei when taking on faceless mooks.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: Chu Tien-hsiang and Master Hsu's penultimate duel has Master Hsu attempting to dodge Chu's stabbing by taking cover behind a wooden pillar. But since Chu at the time already had the Mighty Steel Sword in his hands, he simply stabs the blade right through the wood and skewers Master Hsu dead.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the final battle Xu Jin-wu and Chu Tien-hsiang managed to inflict horrendous, life-threatening injuries on each other, and there isn't a clear winner until Xu, accidentally tripping on a fallen bamboo tree, is at mercy of his opponent... and then the three sisters arrives, each of them carrying their own bamboo pole, and impales Chu all at once.
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  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Xu Jin-wu in the final battle, especially obvious since his attire is entirely white compared to the villainous Chu Tien-hsiang. Both his own and his enemy's blood.
  • Cool Sword: The aptly-named Mighty Steel Sword, whose surface is made of an alloy that allows blood to drain off as soon as it is splattered, ensuring the sword to be gleaming and shiny every instant. Additionally, the back of the sword is made of a powerful magnet generated by the user's chi which can instantly disarm opponents in battles.
  • Dual Wield: Han Lan-mei uses twin swords in her fights against mooks, taking plenty of names with ease.
  • Elaborate Underground B Ase: The hideout of Chu and his legion of followers, right underneath a bamboo forest.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Xu Jin-wu accepts Chu Tien-hsiang's challenge to a Duel to the Death, and wins, but ultimately decides to let Chu leave. Chu then leaves to come back later, steal the Mighty Steel Sword, and tries to kill the Han sisters and Chu for sparing him.
  • Foil: Xu Jin-wu towards Chu Tien-hsiang; both men desires a position of power in the martial arts world, but the former is an honourable warrior while the latter is a cheater, manipulator and ruthless villain.
  • Gold Digger: Chu Tien-hsiang, who woos and marries the eldest Han sister Lan-mei, only for power.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Plenty of red sprays occur throughout the film during sword battles.
  • Hollywood Magnetism: This is the method used by the Mighty Steel Sword to strip enemy swordsmen of their weapons.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Chu Tien-hsiang eventually suffers this fate, from being skewered by three bamboo poles held by all three of the Han sisters.
  • Improvised Weapon: When Chu Tien-hsiang get his hands on the Mighty Steel Sword and is capable of stripping all of his enemies of their weapons due to the sword's magnetic powers, Xu and the Han sisters formulates a way to overcome the sword... with bamboo weapons.
  • In a Single Bound: The standard skill of wuxia swordsmen and fighters, and most characters in this movie including Chu Tien-hsiang and Xu Jin-wu is no exception.
  • Match Cut: The final battle eventually splits apart into Xu and Chu fighting each other, while the Han sisters takes on Chu's Number Two, concurrently. When Han Lan-mei managed to inflict a mortal injury by skewering Chu's henchman through the back, and the film cuts to the other battle... to Chu stabbing Xu, although for the latter is a non-fatal stab through the arm.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Chu Tien-hsiang wears red than black (red clothing and jacket, black overcoat, boots and belt), and he is the Big Bad and most dangerous villain of the picture.
  • Redshirt Army: The Han family's followers and servants, who serves as backup for the swordswomen sisters and Xu against Chu and his mooks. Plenty of them die in the final battle, a number by Chu and his Mighty Sword.
  • Rugged Scar: The duel between Xu Jin-wu and Chu Tien-hsiang ends with Xu the winner, leaving a scar below Chu's left eye.
  • Secondary Character Title: The titular swordswomen siblings actually spends most of the film playing second fiddle to Xu Jin-wu, who is closer to being The Hero than either of them.
  • Sibling Team: The titular swordswomen trio, which are sisters.
  • Simple Staff: In the final showdown, due to Chu Tien-hsiang having the Mighty Sword that can strip his opponents of their weapons, Xu Jin-wu ends up using a bamboo staff with a pointed tip as his weapon.
  • Wuxia