The Swordswoman in White

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“Dubbing proves most entertaining facet of otherwise sporadic hack job.”

Arriving on a DVD of such poor quality, it has been shorn entirely of both opening and closing credits, but hey, I paid $4.99, so can’t really complain. The heroine – named Charlene for most of the film – helps her father run the White Lotus, a rebel group fighting the government in 18th-century China. They have to avoid capture, while simultaneously looking for her long-lost mother (who is in her turn, looking after them), and further diversion is caused by a subplot involving an evil landlord trying to marry a young girl against her will.

There is some promise here and what action there is, is actually not bad, with the heroine handling herself well. However, far too much time is spent sitting around discussing action, rather than actually carrying it out. While this long-winded chatting is taking place, all there is to sustain your interest is a wildly anachronistic dub which includes references to deep-pan pizza (with anchovies!), Ed McMahon and swap-meets as well as a startling off-key rendition of Amazing Grace. But if I wanted to watch What’s Up Tiger Lily?, I would do so, and it’s not so bad a film as to deserve the MST3K treatment.

In some ways, it feels more like the middle of a long-running TV series, not least because of the sudden start, and a final caption which tidies up everything that would presumably have happened next episode. And would it be churlish to point out Charlene actually spends more time wearing red than white?

Dir: Zhang Xua-Xun
Star: Your guess is as good as mine…

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