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Film / The Magnificent Swordsman

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Yojimbo, Shaw Brothers-style!

The Magnificent Swordsman is a 1968 Shaw Brothers movie, loosely based on the Yojimbo formula, where the plot revolves around a lone, wandering warrior entering a town besieged by two bandit gangs.

Jiang Dan Feng is a drifter and wandering warrior, travelling from one town to another vanquishing evil men everywhere he goes. After killing a legion of bandits attempting to rob him, the last bandit, in his dying words, begs Jiang for one last request: to deliver his letter to his only surviving relative, his beloved sister Xiu xiu, who lives a village away. Jiang agrees, but upon his arrival, Jiang discovers said village to be occupied by a powerful bandit gang, led by the ruthless Lord Huang. And himself being a swordsman, Jiang is not welcomed by the locals...


The Magnificent Tropesman:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: Xiu xiu's fiancee, after she asked him what is his worth as a man, ultimately decides to help Jiang Dan Feng fight Bandit Lord Huang in the final battle, giving the hero a very, very much-needed assistance.
  • Battle in the Rain: Jiang Dan Feng against a small legion of bandits in a rain-soaked woods, where he uses the sound of the storm to his advantage in stealthily eliminating mooks.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end of the movie, Jiang Dan Feng, having slain all the bandits including Lord Huang, bids the villagers, including Xiu xiu and her fiancee, a farewell as he proceed to wander to the next town. Befitting his status as a wandering swordsman.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Jiang Dan Feng had no reason to fulfil the last wish of a villain who tried to rob him, other than feeling guilty over killing him. It's part of his schtick for being a noble swordsman, after all.
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  • The Drifter: Jiang Dan Feng the swordsman spends much of his life aimlessly wandering from one town into another, living his days killing evil men.
  • Expy: Jiang Dan Feng is practically Sanjuro transplanted into the Ming Dynasty, right down to the attire and fighting technique.
  • A Fistful of Rehashes: Shaw Brothers' take on the Yojimbo formula.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In the final battle as Bandit Lord Huang gains the upper hand on Jiang Dan Feng and is giving him a severe whipping, before trying to strangle the hero, Xiu xiu's fiancee decides to intervene, ambushing Lord Huang, allowing Jiang Dan Feng to turn the battle around.
  • Last Request: What ultimately kicks off the plot of the film, when a dying bandit mook begs for Jiang Dan Feng to deliver a pouch containing his last letter to his sister, before he succumbs. Feeling the guilt over killing him (despite being an act of self-defense) Jiang Dan Feng obliged to his wishes.
  • Mugging the Monster: The bandits who tries mugging Jiang Dan Feng quickly regret their actions for the rest of their lives. All 15 seconds of it.
  • Nice Girl: Xiu xiu, the kind village girl who is the only one of the villagers nice to Jiang Dan Feng, despite - or maybe because - her brother is a violent bandit henchman.
  • One-Man Army: Jiang Dan Feng can take names with ease with his expert swordsmanship, killing armies of bandits single-handedly. The final battle is just a 12-minute sequence of Jiang killing as many of Bandit Lord Huang's mooks as he can before he finally gets overpowered by Huang.
  • Spaghetti Western: Part of the movie's inspiration.
  • The Stoic: Jiang Dan Feng doesn't speak much, even if he's being spoken to.
  • Whip It Good: In the final battle, Lord Huang uses a whip in his fight against Jiang Dan Feng, and when he finally gains an upper hand in battle gives the hero A Taste of the Lash.
  • Wuxia