Movie Buff

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 July, 2005, 12:00am

Seven Swords

Director: Tsui Hark (below)

Starring: Leon Lai Ming, Donnie Yen Ji-dan, Charlie Young Choi-nei

Prelude: Adapted from the popular martial arts novel Seven Swordsmen from Mountain Tian by writer Liang Yusheng, the film is veteran director Tsui's latest period epic since his greatly underrated movie The Legend of Zu four years ago.

Thestory: During the Qing dynasty, seven swordsmen defy an imperial ban

on martial arts and continue to practise heroic deeds. Meanwhile, a ruthless and powerful warrior sent by the imperial rulers is on his way to wipe out a village where a branch of the Society of Heaven and Earth is secretly planning to restore the Ming regime.

The star: Despite its star-studded cast, Tsui is the architect and driving force behind the production. He is one of the star directors from Hong Kong's 'New Wave' film movement and a pioneer of the martial arts genre.

Things to watch: Spectacular action scenes are guaranteed with Tsui - a master of action - at the helm.

Pay attention to the designs of the seven swords, which are named Unlearn, Dragon, Transience,

Star-chasers, Celestial Beam, Diety and Heaven's Fall. There is a moral behind each weapon.

How will it fare? Seven Swords will be the most ambitious Hong Kong film to be released this year. The only worry is that Tsui may go too far with his experiments in story-telling and action.

Herbie: Fully Loaded

Director: Angela Robinson

Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Michael Keaton, Matt Dillon

Prelude: Herbie, a cute little white Volkswagen Beetle, has been one of Disney's most popular screen icons since it debuted in the movie The Love Bug in 1969. It later starred in three Herbie sequels.

The story: Retired car racing champion Ray (Keaton) buys his daughter Maggie (Lohan) a rusty Beetle from a scrap yard as her graduation present.

But the banged-up Beetle turns out to be no ordinary vehicle. It changes the life of the girl, who has long been forbidden from pursing her dreams by her overprotective father.

The star: Lohan - a cookie-cutter American pop idol whose fame can be attributed to her looks, rather than talent. She seems to have found her niche in Disney remakes, but needs a major breakthrough before she can make it to the A-list of movie stars.

How will it fare? The story sounds silly but fun. Herbie is no match for Initial D, but it could be an enjoyable and clean alternative to other Hollywood summer movies involving ruthless aliens (War of the Worlds) or evil cloning corporations (The Island).