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14 BLADES (HK/China)


Genre: Action
Starring: Donnie Yen, Zhao Wei, Qi Yuwu, Wu Chun, Kate Tsui, Sammo Hung, Damian Lau, Chen Guan Tai, Wu Ma, Law Kar Ying
Director: Daniel Lee
Rating: PG (Some Violence)
Year Made: 2010



- The Making of 14 Blades
- Trailer




Languages: Mandarin
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9
Sound: Dolby Digital
Running Time: 1 hr 55 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East
Official Website:




Trained in clandestine combat from childhood, the Jinyiwei were masters of the 14 Blades. Above the law and with a license to kill, they devoted their lives and lethal prowess to the service of the Emperor alone.When the Imperial Court is taken over by evil eunuch JIA, the best of the Jinyiwei, QINGLONG is assigned to steal a list identifying those still loyal to the Emperor. Unbeknownst to Qinglong, the Jinyiwei have fallen under the control of Jia, and during the mission he’s betrayed and barely escapes with his life.Now as the most wanted man in the land Qinglong must seek out and rally the loyalists to rise against Jia and restore the Emperor to power.In his way are the deadliest assassins in the land, his former brethren, the Jinyiwei.


The English title of the movie, "14 Blades" refers to a set of sophisticatedly weaponry which is carried by the Jinyiwei, the Emperor’s very own bunch of secret agents. And when you have the hottest action leading man in Chinese cinema, Donnie Yen as Qinglong, the head of the agents, your expectations of "14 Blades" shoot through the roof liked the STI on a good day.

Unfortunately, director and writer Daniel Lee fails to do justice to all the mayhem he supposedly due to unleash after the opening cool CG sequence which briefly explains the uses of 14 Blades. First and crucial of all, the various characters and motive are poorly conceived. The Emperor is overthrown by an evil eunuch Jia (Law Kar-Ying in an occasional serious mode) with the backing of Prince Qing (Sammo Hung in a cameo) and to make things worse, the Jingyiwei is betrayed by their own member, Xuanwu (played by a stiff Qi Yuwu) who is promised some incentives by Jia for to carry out the killings. The only man left standing of course is Qinglong who escaped with the Imperial seal and with Prince Qing’s goddaughter, Tuo Tuo (Kate Tsui) hot in pursuit, the only way for Qinglong to stay alive is to stick with Qiaohua (Vickie Zhao) and a bandit, Judge (Wu Chun).

While the audience knew the motive of all the killings right from the start, we can’t help feeling underwhelmed by all those villainous characters behind it. Sure it’s all about the usurpation of power, blah…blah… but hey at least give us a little more background and narratives about Prince Qing and Eunuch Jia. Even Xuanwu and Tuo Tuo has limited exposition, the former is embarrassingly disposable (no offence but we guess Yuwu is there because of a certain major financial backer) though at least Tuo Tuo manages to kick some ass with Qinglong throughout.

The success of "Ip Man" helps to open windows of opportunities for Donnie Yen who yearns to stretch his acting muscles in addition to his martial-arts skills. We can’t say for sure it’s entirely his fault as Yen looks visibly stiffer for most parts of the movie than his much lively co-star, Vickie Zhao.

Daniel Lee might have some weaknesses in creating believable story and emotions but the man does have an eye for all things beautiful. The cinematography, set designs to name a few technical aspects is top notch. Thus even if you are bored by the less than sizzling chemistry between Donnie Yen and Vickie Zhao in the movie’s prolonged love story angle, the background shots and vast wasteland are marvelous to ogle at.

People liked Colin Chou, Wu Jing and Fan Siu-Wong, worthy sparring partners of Donnie Yen might be on vacation which explains why Kate Tsui has to stand in with some assistance from the CG department to duel with Yen. One of the major fights in a forest makes good use of the 14 Blades weaponry showcasing some really fascinating stuff that will make any gadget geek go wild and some of the action sequences that follows equally amaze with the exception of some really dodgy CG. Who needs CG anyway when you have Donnie Yen? Nevertheless, the nicely shot and choreographed fights beside Yen himself are the sole selling point of this martial-arts actioner.

Once again, Daniel Lee fails to impress as an accomplished filmmaker. "14 Blades" has some really cool nods to all those classic Shaw martial-arts movies, pity for the mostly underdeveloped characters. If you are not a fan of Lee’s "Three Dragons", "A Fighter’s Blues"and "Dragon Squad", I doubt "14 Blades" is going to change your mind. Okay perhaps the cool opening sequence as I mentioned.


The 17 minutes Making-Of briefly consists of interviews with the director, producer, cast members including Donnie Yen, Vickie Zhao and Wu Chun with some behind-the-scenes snippets. There's also a trailer attached.


"14 Blades" boasts a nicely transferred visual with near perfect images and colour palette. The audio features an extreme active track especially during the action sequences.



Review by Linus Tee

Posted on 15 April 2010


. 14 Blades (Movie Review)

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This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East


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