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Film / The Thundering Sword

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"The Thundering Sword can shatter world's other two precious swords. When the sword appears it could cause great disasters which would cease only when the earth cracks."
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The Thundering Sword is a 1967 Shaw Brothers wuxia film starring Cheng Pei-Pei, Chang Yi (in his debut as leading role) and Lo Lieh.

The Thundering Sword, a powerful, indestructible weapon hidden under a booby-trapped mausoleum, and clans all over the martial arts world are eager to kill each other for posession of the weapon. Two martial arts students, Yu Chien-Wan (Chang Yi) and Chiang Kwun-Yuan (Lo Lieh) are sent by their master, Chief Instructor and High Priest of the Yuan Mountain Clan, to seek this dangerous weapon so that it may be destroyed to restore peace to the clans, but then Yu Chien-wan had a run-in with the deadly swordswoman Shu Chiao-chiao (Cheng) who is also looking for the sword.


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The Thundering Sword Include Examples of:

  • Action Girl: Chiao-chiao, played by Cheng Pei-pei. Who gets her own One Woman Army epic fight when she gets her hands on the titular sword.
  • Artifact of Attraction: The titular sword. Clans of warriors are more than eager to kill each other for the weapon, and when Chiao-chiao gets her hands on it, she ends up become the most wanted woman in the Ming Dynasty.
  • The Atoner: Chiao-chiao, after realizing how her impulse had led to the deaths of 32 people in a single night.
  • Badass Cape: Chiao-chiao and Yu Chien-wan both wears flowing capes while they’re kicking ass.
  • Booby Trap: The underground cavern storing the titular sword has walls filled with hidden arrow launchers that skewer any intruders, descending portcullis, spike traps and all sorts of contraptions.
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  • Cool Sword: The titular weapon, stated to be Made of Indestructium and can destroy the world’s other two great swords. Chiao-chiao ends up being the first person who wields it, with horrifying results.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: The fate Yu is subjected to, after being The Scapegoat for the theft of the titular sword and the massacre of 32 lives of his own clan. It was his capture that leads to Chiao-chiao realizing what kind of troubles she had caused with the sword.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Chiao-chiao, armed with the titular sword, facing off against Yu’s clan, had the clan’s members suddenly deciding to take the sword from her by force. She then demonstrates how an already-skilled swordswoman, armed with an absolutely powerful sword, is a force NOT to be scoffed at, by killing 32 of the clan members (confirmed via dialogue) in two minutes.
  • The Drifter: Chiao-chiao is a wandering swordswoman who travels through lands seeking adventures.
  • Driven to Suicide: Chiao-chiao, via drinking poison, to atone for her massacre of an entire clan.
  • Genre Shift: The movie suddenly turns into a romance-drama halfway when Yu realize he has feelings for Chiao-chiao. The second half notably had a lot less action or fight scenes than the first, and in the finale unlike most of Cheng Pei-pei's films at the time which usually ends with her kicking a ton of ass to end a movie, here she simply kills herself via poison to appease the clan.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: His Heart Will Go On, with Chiao-chiao dying for Yu and his clan.
  • In a Single Bound: Thanks to some old-school Wire Fu, most characters can scale rooftops simply by jumping.
  • Knows the Ropes: Chiao-chiao uses a rope as her backup weapon when trying to subdue opponents in a non-lethal way. Besides beating or tying up her targets, she can also unleash her rope to snag objects like her opponents’ dropped swords.
  • Mugging the Monster: The bandits trying to rob Shu Chiao-chiao early in the film. She defeats all of them without drawing her sword, and leaves none alive via her poisoned darts.
  • Professional Killer: Chiao-chiao, even before she gets her hands on the Thundering Sword. She effortlessly beats up a whole legion of bandits trying to rob her, killing them with darts as they flee, and when she get the titular weapon she simply slaughters an entire clan of 32 people in just one night.
  • Slipping a Mickey: How Chiao-chiao subdues Chiang Kwun Yuan, by spiking his drink and putting him effectively out of action for most of the runtime.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Yu Chien Wan and Chiao-chiao, both whom are on different sides, but ends up falling for each other in their quest for the titular sword. It expectedly ends badly, but for once it’s the lady protagonist played by Cheng Pei-pei who took the sacrifice.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Chiao-chiao, posing as Yu to infiltrate his clan, while carrying the titular sword with her. Also an Actor Allusion, Cheng Pei-pei did a similar stunt in her more iconic film Come Drink With Me released a year prior.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Unlike most of Cheng Pei-pei’s various wuxia films at the time, for this one the faceless minions she killed DO have families, as she ends up realizing near the end of the film, in a My God, What Have I Done? moment. All this ultimately leads to her committing suicide to clear Yu’s name and preserve dignity to the clan.
  • Wuxia


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