Review: Full Moon Scimitar (Hong Kong 1979)

I was not expecting this to start with an actual ballad about the titular scimitar that lays out the story. Sample lyrics “The full moon, the smooth scimitar, The moon knows my heart’s desire. The scimitar would join two loving hearts.”

A beautiful wu xia in the classic Chu Yuan/Gu Long manner, with absolutely gorgeous sets and costumes, and impeccable style, even by Chu Yuan standards. Here, we find latter day Chu Yuan protagonist Derek Yee as a hero single-mindedly focused on pursuing fame in the martial world. After a dastardly trick by an opponent (Wang Jung) derails him, he is saved by the beautiful Lisa Wang, and starts his climb again. 

That sounds straightforward, but Scimitar is an odd duck. Rather than the usual elaborate alliances and murder mysteries, this is more of a fairy tale/morality play, which sees Yee’s protagonist struggling more with doing the right thing than with actual opponents. It’s heady stuff, though not in the top tier of Chu Yuan’s work – Jade Tiger better combines the wu xia world with real life concerns. 

Look also for great villainous roles by Wang Jung, Norman Chui, and Wang Lung.

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