The Invincible Yuanyang Swords
aka 無敵鴛鴦劍 aka The Matchless Pair Swords
Written by Fung Kam-pui
Directed by Mok Hong-See
It’s time for an old school Cantonese wuxia flick, and there are only two reasons to watch: The choreographed swordplay and the low budget effects. And the swordplay is brought, but the low budget effects are what brings The Invincible Yuanyang Swords to our attention. Particularly one low budget effect. Godzilla. Yes, Godzilla. Okay, he’s not really Godzilla, he just looks suspiciously like a dimestore Godzilla, complete with stolen audio of the Godzilla roar! Yes, a dragon the main character fights is pretty much Godzilla. Also there’s some complicated plot involving treasure map pieces and an evil gang that the hero thwarts, but MAN IN SUIT MONSTER!!!
Director Mok Hong-See directed 160 films in his long career, most of which are so old they probably don’t exist any more. His career is largely done by the end of the 1960s, but he is notable for helming many of Connie Chan’s Lady Bond films (which exist, we just can’t ever see them!!!) Hong Kong Film Archive also notes this is child star Lee Tsi-yeung’s screen debut. I can’t find out any more information about the kid actor, but I guess he’s important enough and will probably show up in other old wuxia films I watch. Maybe he won’t even be a brat in them!
The film’s choice to portray the dragon as a Godzilla-looking creature instead of a traditional Chinese dragon is an interesting one. It shows the popularity of Godzilla films in 1963 (who would have been fresh off his third feature, 1962′s King Kong vs. Godzilla) and how the iconic imagery can even creep into places that were filled with people who still harbored much hatred towards Japan over what they did during the war.
There are several different old Cantonese wuxia flicks with dragons and other giant monsters, the problem is there is so little information about these films in English, finding one is just luck. I know there is one other one I saw clips from (though I don’t know the name) with a different dragon monster. We’ve also found ape costumes are surprisingly common, so there are probably other cool fantasy things running around just waiting for me to write a long rambling review about! Luckily, I have a stack of vcds with a few looking very promising. I hope this costume was used again and again.