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Film / Vengeance Is a Golden Blade

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Vengeance Is a Golden Blade is a 1969 wuxia Martial Arts Movie released by Shaw Brothers, directed by Ho Meng-hua, the Shaws' go-to guy for high-bodycount wuxia epics (better known for his films like The Jade Raksha and The Lady Hermit). It stars Yueh Hua, Tang Ching and Chin Ping (a.k.a discount Cheng Pei-Pei) in the lead roles.

The once-happy family of a lawful martial arts clan leader, Chief Li Zhi-shan, is ripped apart when Li's unfaithful wife, having an affair with a ruthless bandit lord, Long Zhen-tian, conspires to have her own family slaughtered. Chief Li barely managed to escape the massacre thanks to his powerful family heirloom, the invincible sword called the Golden Blade; fleeing with his loyal servant and his young daughter, Li Xiao-yan, in tow, the Li family ends up taking refuge in the house of an old friend, the benevolent old Master Liu.

Eighteen years later, Chief Li's daughter, Li Xiao-yan (Chin Ping) had reached adulthood, and started developing feelings for Master Liu's grandson, Liu Qing-Song (Yueh Hua), both of them having trained under the same kung fu master as children. After the betrayal, Chief Li lied to his daughter that her mother had died in the hands of the bandits led by Long Zhen-tian. Swearing revenge, Li Xiao-yan and Liu Qing-Song decide to rid the martial world of evil, but complications ensues when Xiao-yan discover her mother is still alive.

Vengeance of the Golden Blade contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The titular Golden Blade can easily destroy the blades of other swords, as Chief Li demonstrates to a group of bandits early in the film.
  • Action Girl: Li Xiao-yan, being the daughter of an esteemed Security Chief and trained since a child in swordplay, is a highly capable swordswoman, especially once she wields her father's Golden Blade.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Golden Blade, passed down from Chief Li Zhi-shan to his daughter Li Xiao-yan.
  • Band of Brothels: The village's brothel area, where Li Xiao-yan found out the truth about her mother.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The beginning of the movie, with Chief Li Zhi-shan fighting the bandits while his farm burns up around him, in a valiant attempt to fend off the traitorous Long Zhen-tian and his mooks.
  • Battle Couple: Li Xiao-yan and Liu Qing-Song in the later parts of the film, when they're taking names side-by-side.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Li Xiao-yan the heroine wears blue the entire film, including when taking on Long Zhen-tian and his bandits and ridding the martial world of villains.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Li Xiao-yan and Liu Qing-song grows up together as childhood friends after his grandfather allows her to stay in their place. After spending the whole film kicking ass, by the end of the movie it's implied they're starting a relationship.
  • Cool Sword: The... uh, Golden Blade in the title. It's a powerful family heirloom of the esteemed Li family clan, and in the hands of a skilled wielder can kill legions and legions of enemies all at once.
  • Hate Sink: Li Yue-Xiang, wife of Chief Li and mother of Li Xiao-yan, is never portrayed in any positive light. She conspires with Long Zhen-tian after having an affair with him to lead an ambush into her family, resulting in her family nearly getting killed which she shows no remorse or regret towards, happily enjoying the wealth and privileges for being a bandit lord's mistress. Enjoying a status as a whorehouse owner, she had young women pimped into her brothel and treats them atrociously, and even stoop to the level of drugging her own daughter after finding out she's still alive, in order to lure her husband to a death trap. Her own naïve daughter, Li Xiao-yan, who is a Nice Girl and Friend to All Living Things, ultimately rejects her at the end of the film, and nobody bats an eye at Li Yue-Xiang's well-deserved death, which is absolutely overdue at that point.
  • Handicapped Badass: Chief Li, in his later years, may be handicapped due to suffering a foot injury with permanent effects, but he can still kick plenty of ass if he needs to.
  • In a Single Bound: Most characters can traverse great distances by leaping, befitting the film's wuxia nature.
  • Injured Limb Episode: Chief Li, in the opening, suffers a foot injury while battling the bandits and fleeing with his young daughter and loyal servant. An injury that seems to be permanent, as later scenes after an eighteen-year Time Skip shows him limping everywhere he goes, even after the end credits.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: In their first scene, Liu Qing-song and Li Xiao-Yan are shown as children, the former being the daughter of the lawful Chief Li while the latter being the grandson of a heroic martial arts master who helped provide refuge for the father and daughter. They are then shown as adults after a Time Skip.
  • Off with His Head!: One of Li Xiao-yan's kills is a bandit mook whose head got into the way of her sword.
  • One-Man Army: Li Zhi-shan and Liu Qing-song are killing machines who defeats enemy bandits single-handedly.
  • Papa Wolf: NEVER threaten Chief Li's daughter - the bandits who comes for him early in the film ends up getting slaughtered in droves when they attempted to take his daughter.
  • Power Glows: The Golden Blade, upon being drawn, emits a powerful gold aura. That's where it get its name, see?
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The bandits led by Long Zhen-tian takes part in all three.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Long Zhen-tian wears black robes over a blood-red tunic, and he's the Big Bad of the picture, a villainous bandit lord who indulges in slaughtering entire populations.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Li Xiao-yan thought her mother was killed years ago during the bandit raid on her family, but as it turns out her mother was actually still alive... and in cahoots with the villains, the whole time.
  • Sword Fight: All over the place, with plenty of dead mooks everywhere.
  • Weapon Title: With the titular blade being the Li's family heirloom.
  • Wuxia