This Taiwanese film from 1968 is a tale of honour and revenge by celebrated master of ‘wuxia’ cinema, Joseph Kuo, has just been released on 2K Blu-ray in a Limited Edition set. Get ready for a serious dose of sword and sorcery when a young man, who witnessed the brutal slaying of his family as a child, makes it his mission to dispatch those responsible for his parents’ death.

In a flashback sequence, 6-year old Tsai Ying-jie is forced to look on helplessly when a particularly nasty gang, led by Yun Chun-chung (Tsao Tsian) slay Tsai’s father in order to get their bloody hands on the legendary Spirit Chasing Sword. When Yun’s accomplices urge him to kill the little boy as well, he hesitates. The other gang members, however, are of the opinion that “A beheaded weed’s roots must be ripped out or the beheaded weed will return.” Undeterred, Yun decides to spare the boy’s life.

Many years have passed and Tsai Ying-jie (Tien Peng) is now a grown man – the ‘weed’ in question… Shortly after the killing of his parents, the family’s manservant took little Tsai to safety in a valley where he learned the art of sword fighting. Now an expert in the art, Tsai sets out to track down the culprits one by one, carrying with him five small wooden plates, which have the names of the murderers engraved on them. In a small village, Tsai encounters one of the murderers – a particularly loathsome specimen by the name of Chou Hu (Miao Tien) who minutes earlier had provoked a harmless elderly street performer (Ming Kao) to challenge him to a duel. It goes without saying that the unfortunate soul not only lost the duel but his life. Tsai, who happens to be in the village, witnessed the incident and – after all those years - recognises Chou straight away. Now he’s the one who challenges him to a duel and it’s Chou who loses his life when Tsai pins him onto a tree with his own sword.

Soon, Tsai is on the road again to find the remaining culprits and sure enough, it’s not before long that another former gang member meets with a grisly end. Two down, three more to go… Of course, were it just a case of ticking off Tsai’s personal kill list then it would be a rather boring film indeed, at least as far as the plot is concerned. Thankfully, things get more complicated when he encounters a mysterious stranger who calls himself Black Dragon (Nan Chiang) who isn’t that happy that Tsai is currently the number 1 fighter in the land and challenges him. But Tsai needs to focus on his revenge and his stubbornness causes him to get injured by way of a poisoned dart. Enter Flying Swallow (Polly Shang-Kuan Ling-Fen) who not only nurses him back to health (and develops a bit of a thing for him in the process) but as it so happens, she is the daughter of… Yun Chun-chung, the very person Tsai wishes to dispatch the most! And what is the relation between Flying Swallow and Black Dragon? Once his health has been restored, Tsai can’t wait for the duel with Yun Chun-chung, who by now has lost his eyesight. But when Flying Swallow begs Tsai to spare her father’s life he is torn between his thirst for revenge and the fact that the young woman nursed him back to health. Above all though, it was Yun who, many years ago, spared Tsai’s life… Whatever Tsai’s decision and whatever the outcome, Black Dragon is waiting in the wings… The cinematography is spot-on and so is the acting. There’s enough human drama to elevate this from a straightforward action flick and director Kuo proves why he is among the best.

The Limited Edition set (only 2000 copies) contains double-sided poster, lobby cards, collector’s booklet plus a bonus disc featuring Kuo’s influential (and rare) kung fu masterpiece THE MYSTERY OF CHESS BOXING from 1979, which once again is a tale of revenge albeit laced with plenty of humour and mind-boggling stunts thrown in for good measure. Lee Yin Min stars as Ah Pao, a young lad who wants to learn kung fu so he can avenge the brutal killing of his father at the hands of Ghost Faced Killer (Mark Long), who himself is after everyone who is conspiring against him. Meanwhile, Ah Pao joins the local kung fu school but is given a hard time by his seniors. Enter jaw-dropping stunts involving countless rice bowls and other delights. Above all: marvel at the action during the opening credits, played out across a gigantic chess board – it needs to be seen to be believed!