Download Formats: M4V, AVI, MTS, MKV, M2TS, 3GP, ASF
original title: Sword of Heaven
duration: 1h 25min
keywords: magic, sword, japanese, criminal, martialarts, policeofficer, independentfilm
I admit to never never having previously heard of the film in question and came across it merely by chance one day. However, seeing as it was at such a give away price, I thought 'What the hell' and throwing caution to the wind, bought it.
And how glad I am that I did!
It's a B-movie all the way (as expected) but unlike many of its ilk, it KNOWS it and even revels in it.
Tadashi Yamashita (who looks a lot like a Japanese Donny Osmond!!!) who genre fans will instantly recognise as Michael Dudikoff's nemesis, the Black Star Ninja from the first American Ninja film, here plays the good guy, a Japanese police officer named coincidentally enough, Tadashi.
Aside from teaching self defence to American police officers our hero likes nothing better than a bit of dirt biking and it is whilst having a breather from this activity off the beaten track as it were, that he spies another Japanese man battling off some American mercenary sorts with a samurai sword.
This sword is no ordinary sword however....for it was fashioned by Buddhist monks from a lump of space debris that fell from the heavens 400 years previously and possesses certain magical properties. Not only that but as it happens - and the reason for the military guys special interest in it, is that an incriminating microfilm has recently been planted in its handle by a corrupt police officer who, aided by a sadistic trained killer, has amassed himself a small army of loyal martial art/military experts.
As you can probably guess, possession of the sword ends up in Tadashi's hands who then inevitably becomes the target.
Cue lots of martial arts action as our hero fights off all those who wish to retrieve the sword for their own nefarious ends.
There's a lot to like about this little known film, not least of all some good martial arts displays - especially at the films climax when our hero comes up against various attackers armed with a big array of martial arts weaponry such as balisong knives, kama (sickles), sai (pronged truncheons), staffs, machetes etc.
Also of interest to martial arts fans is the appearance of Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace who has a very small but nonetheless welcome role and gets to (briefly) show off some of his legendary left foot work.
One of the main plus points for me though, were some of the humorous scenes throughout this. For instance there's one particularly funny scene in which our hero actually dresses up as a woman to lure one of the films bad guys! Tadashi Yamashita must have a good sense of humour!
And how can you not love a film that contains scenes such as when the same bad guy hurls a nun in a wheelchair over a cliff whilst Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor plays on the soundtrack?!?!?!?!?
Yep - another B-movie classic me thinks! Well worth a watch if you're lucky enough to get hold of a copy. The first hour of "Sword Of Heaven" is disjointed and nonsensical: we seem to be watching the "plots" of two different movies, one about an ancient sword with mystical powers made out of a comet (those powers don't seem to go beyond glowing in blue, however), the other about a serial killer whose victims are mostly rich people who have been blackmailed but refuse to pay up. An Irish police detective is on the serial killer case, and what do you know, his Japanese friend and martial arts instructor at the police academy is the one who has to protect the sword and deliver it to its rightful owner. The first hour is basically filler, but in the last 20 minutes we finally get some decent martial arts encounters as the hero, Tadashi Yamashita, has to fight a succession of henchmen one-on-one and sometimes one-on-two before getting to the main villain. Yamashita certainly has some moves, and there is a pretty neat beheading there as well. Also we get this amusing exchange:
- "Where did you learn all these acrobatics?"
- "Old Bruce Lee movies!"
- "You should be watching 007 instead"
The last 20 minutes almost redeem the movie. (*1/2)
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