14 Blades is a martial arts movie set in the Ming Dynasty. Donnie Yen stars as Qing Long, leader of an army of assassins loyal to the emperor. He possesses the 14 Blades, which is like a Chinese Swiss Army Knife that features 14 bladed weapons. Each blade has a specific use according to the situation but not every blade is used in the movie.

The first part of 14 Blades is an introduction of who Qing Long is and his army of bodyguards/assassins. Prince Qing (Sammo Hung) conspired against the Emperor and the first part of his plan was to disband Qing Long’s group.

Qing Long was betrayed by his second in command but managed to escape with the Emperor’s seal. The injured Qing Long hired an escort agency to take him across the desert. This is when he met Qiao Hua (Vicky Zhao), the daughter of escort agency head and thus began a story of unrequited love. I was not surprised when Vicky Zhao or Zhao Wei dressed as a man in one of the scenes in 14 Blades. I guess she’s stereotyped to get roles like that after her great performance in Mulan.

This part of 14 Blades played out like a typical Cowboy movie with an oriental twist. As they cross the desert, they were met with bandits and people who were after Qing Long. What’s funny is that Qing Long hired the escorts but in the end he had to protect them from the attacks.

Along the way for his final encounter with the Prince, he met Judge (Wu Chun), a Jack Sparrow-wannabe desert pirate. Wu Chun watched Pirates of the Caribbean way too many times because that’s what he projected as The Judge in this movie. Judge and Qing Long had one of the best fight scenes in 14 Blade, which resulted in a draw. I guess the two adhered to the saying “if you can’t beat them, join them, and teamed up to fight the Prince.

Tuo Tuo (Kate Tsui), the Prince’s daughter and number one assassin, stalked Qing Long across the land to get the Emperor’s seal from him. She looked like Medusa with Voltes V’s magnetic belt. With the powers of CG effects, she is Qing Long’s hardest foe in 14 Blades. The final battle resulted in a deadlock as both of them died.

Although the main character died in 14 Blades, this movie conveys hope. It tells us that there’s hope despite solitude, pain, and even death. If you like martial arts mixed with romance then 14 Blades is just right for you.

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