Swordsman 3: The East is Red 東方不敗 - 風雲再起 (1993) - Hong Kong
As part of the ongoing Film Critics - Martial Arts series - “Discovering the world of Martial Arts cinema”
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
In terms of over the top experience, the third and final film of the “Swordsman” trilogy comes very close to topping it, from Yu Rong Guang using a full sized cannon as a hand held gun to flying needles and explosions all over the sea and land. However, “The East is Red” leaves all of the original two films budget, set pieces, focus on details into creating a dream like film that is both romantic and exhilarating at the same time.
Brigette Lin reprises her ironic character of East of Asia to menacing effect, dominating and full of presence in a truly genderless role. Joey Wang as former love interest manages to impress the most in the film and perhaps holding all the incoherent plot lines together with a sensual yet powerful performance. Her eyes radiates, her sexiness always translate, yet there lies a deeper sense of love, hate and unpredictability in her that truly competes her performance. There are rare glimpses into ideology and false pretence of people trying to use the gods to control the masses.
All in all, “The East is Red” will not be a classic within the wuxia genre, as it is far too incoherent, suffers from some poor effects and production design. A film clearly holds together by the performances of Joey Wang and Brigette Lin. They are simply breathtaking to endure. Despite its flaws, “The East is Red” remains iconic for many reasons and will go on to be a parody of many other 90s cinema.
I rated it 7.5/10