SAVIOUR OF THE SOUL
(Gauyat Sandiu Haplui)
The screenplay for Saviour of the Soul comes from Wong Kar-Wai who made a breakout as director a couple of years later with the acclaimed Chungking Express (1994) and subsequent arthouse hits like In the Mood for Love (2000) and 2046 (2004). It is never always entirely clear what is going on in. Essentially, the film has been conceived as a series of visually dazzling acrobatics and aerobatics, all directed by master Hong Kong fight choreographer Corey Yuen, also the director of the likes of The Transporter (2002) and DOA: Dead or Alive (2006). Things kick in from the breathtaking opening sequence that has Aaron Kwok blasting into a high-security area bouncing machine-gun bullets off his sword, spinning through the air like a drill bit with bullets bouncing off his cloak, vertically hacking people and chopping the tops of heads off, and impaling three people on his sword at once. The entire film is filled with amazing set-pieces like this. There is a fight sequence in a bathroom with people being blasted through the cubicles, swinging up and around the roof to avoid sword blades and riding on the backs of other people on cubicle doors. Or an amazing sequence that contrives to use a yo-yo and a sword with a blade made out of a wafer-thin sheet of metal as weapons. The film even manages to make a sequence with the potentially risible notion of people fighting a flying full-length mirror into something gripping.
Saviour of the Soul adopts a wholly fantastical setting and makes no attempts at realism traditional swordplay sits alongside modern guns, while there is a temple like something out of dynastic fantasy amid the modern city setting, or when a moon rises in the background of a shot it is a full moon that fills nearly a quarter of the sky. The film also has the sappy adolescent slapstick common to much of Hong Kong cinema particularly in regard to May-Chuns sister Hwa-Shang (Gloria Yip) who is always having doors slammed in her face, picking up the iron when she answers the phone and the like. This is at its most amusing when we hear things narrated from her point-of-view, interpreting her combat training as romance how she talks of their first holding of hands and the film cuts to them arm-wrestling, and the like.
Saviour of the Soul 2 (1992) was a sequel also from directors David Lai and Corey Yuen and featuring a return performance from Andy Lau.
Clip from the film here:-