The Sword Identity (2011) - full transcript

Once upon a time in the Southern Chinese city of Guancheng, there lived four families, each of them faithful keepers of martial arts. Anyone who wanted to establish a new sect, or a new form of kung fu, had to fight his way through the family's gates. But when Liang Henlu requests a competition, he is rejected and driven out of town, his strange new weapon mistaken for a Japanese sword and therefore forbidden by purist Chinese masters as a foreign fighting device. Liang is taken for a Japanese pirate and forced to hide in a boat filled with gypsy dancers. After a series of fights prove Liang's sword invincible, the Guancheng masters start to question their assumptions regarding the weapon's origins. They finally recognize that it is none other than the famous sword called 'Made in China' (modeled on a Japanese weapon), which the celebrated General Qi used in his glorious defeat of the Japanese invasion.

Will you be going
to the mountains to hunt?

To be alone.

Yi Ho.

Yi Ho.

Yi Ho.

Yi Ho.

Get him!

If one defeats the four schools
in Wuyi Lane,

they can open their own school...

A 200-year rule.

I hope to have a fair chance.

The form of your sword is unfair.

You don't deserve a chance.

This bow has
the strength of 12 stones.

There are many bows here

Van possibly.

You are right.

Break your sword then you leave.

He is no match for you.


What an evil sword.

It's a great sword.

Too bad


I'm going to see
the Wuyi Lane fights.

What's the big deal?

All the young kung fu masters
will be there.

It's a rare sight.

Why is there a fight?

There's a Japanese pirate
in the city.

The winner gets the right
to go after him.

They've overrated him.

That's not it!

They're treating the Japanese pirate
like the prize!

They'll get him
after they've had some fun!

What if the Japanese
pirate escapes?

The reason for this fight

may actually be
to scare him away.

Let me go take a look!

- Ready to go?
- Can you go?

- He paid too much.
- Be happy then.

- We'll update you later.
- Later.

What's the point,
if you're not looking?!

I'm not here to watch you dance

I'm testing
your physical strength.

What's the point in that?!

If your people decide
to invade my country,

I'll be more prepared.

My people are wandering nomads

with no land.

How would we invade
your country?

You have a point,

but all wars are pointless.

They're just running around
How boring!

- That's right... boring!
- Lousy!

They should be at each other's throats,
fighting until death.

- That's what I call a real fight!
- That's right.

You don't understand.

Chinese martial arts

isn't like street fighting.

Victory is decided

the split-second
they clash head-on.

The Lu school fighter

is weak.

We'll see.

Very strong legs.

General Qi trains his men well.

How much more can you last?

Now do you know the difference

between civilian
and military combat skills?

This is a Japanese sword

and it shouldn't be used

I'll agree to release you,
but destroy it.

This sword is used
for combating the Japanese.

Regular swords..

Are no match when fighting

against the Japanese.

The general taught us

to use Japanese swords

to fight against them

with their own weapon!

There are many ways to fight.

There is simply no need

to copy your enemy.

Take, for example,

General Yu's yuanyang formation

of three shield bearers
with two spear holders.

Existing weapons can surely

defeat Japanese invaders.

The patrol teams in the capital

are all using yuanyang formation now.

That... is the right way.

This is no longer
a Japanese sword!

The general remodeled its length

and the method of wielding it

to defeat the Japanese sword!

Whatever the changes were,

it was only temporary.

The invaders were defeated long ago.

The two generals, Qi and Yu,

have also passed on.

Let the

past die with them.

The Qi army is gone.

This army won't accept this sword.

My only wish is to pass it on

and to keep its memory alive.

Don't get your hopes up.

It's very difficult

to get people
to adapt to a new sword


the masters.

Martial art skills
are not necessarily

the best weapons in a battle.

You'll know that after?

You stand here long enough.

The one who escaped was
General Qi's last bodyguard.

He will never give up!

Very well.

We are at peace.

There is nothing else

to do for fun.


Why didn't anyone inform me

about the Japanese in town?

Chief, may I have a word?

Come, give it a few knocks.

I'm almost 50

and I'm still wearing paper armor.

My last wish is
to wear metal armor.

An imperial suit.

You're the anti-pirate chief

in charge of the city.

Surely you can get one
if you so wish.


Making your own armor
is an offense.

It must be bestowed
by the imperial court.

It's peaceful times now,

so I can't get armor.

What the chief means is

Japanese pirates have been
long gone for years.

It's rare to find one here.

If caught, it'll be an accomplishment

that merits a suit
of metal armor.

I need everyone's support.

If there's any news,

send me word.

- All right?
- Uh-huh.

- All right. Let's go.
- Uh-huh.

- Madam Qiu!
- Madam Qiu!

Leave me alone.

What did you tell
the anti-pirate chief?

I said we've got
a real Japanese here.

Why did you say that?

I just went along

with what people are saying.

Didn't we agree
to just scare him off?

With this martial arts contest?

It's also to boost
the morale of our disciples.

Yes, that's true,

but it's impossible for people
to accept a Japanese sword

as their own.
He isn't even Japanese.

The fastest way
to crush his dream

is for him to be branded
and captured as a Japanese.

Stop the fights Search for him.

- The Vermillion bird of the South.
- The Black Warrior of the North.

I really want to go!

To what,

see the fights?

I can show you.

You are bad people

I shouldn't have come to China.

Let me talk to you. Come.

Two words, "Yi. Ho".

What's that?

Put the words together.

"Yi Ho." Ho!


- Ho!
- Ho!

It's an army drill command

unknown to outsiders.

Are you a military man?


You still have strength

I want to use my energy
for other things!

Pour the wine in the river.

And what for?

A test.


Sailan! Sailan!

Your customer is
the Japanese pirate!

- He's Japanese!
- Sailan!

Good body strength.

I'll teach you to fight one on one.

Want to learn?

Place one end of the rod out.

Close your eyes.

Wait for the enemy's weapons
to make contact.

When you hear
the sound of contact,

don't open your eyes.

Use your full force
to pull upwards.

Madam, it's late.

A woman should be home by now.

Giving me orders?

Brother Qiu may not be around

but his reputation is
still important.

That's our home!

- What do we do without our home?
- We can't live without it.

- That's our home!
- Get lost!

Move it! Go!

Be nice.

What should I do?


What is it?


Yuanyang formation.

- Never trust these martial arts types.
- Yes.

- He's failed to inform me again.
- Yes.

General, it's him!

Aren't you supposed
to be on that boat?

That was a trick.

How dare you trick me!

The yuanyang formation
can beat the sword.

Even you succeeded.

General Yu is a true master.


I'll bind you


Drop your weapons.

They'll never listen to you.

Drop it!



Sir, there's a technical problem.

The sword is close to my neck.

If I jump too high

it might cut my throat.

You doubt my skills?

No, I doubt my own skills.

He's drowned!
He's drowned!

- He's drowned!
- Behind you.

All right.

Men, move out.

If you were three years younger,

the martial arts fighters
trying to defeat you

would pay with broken arms and legs.

If you were five years younger,

no one could beat you.

Stay in the mountains

and spend your
remaining years in peace.

Brother, give me
some water, please.

Bro, you must have
become an immortal.

You look even younger than me.

You should move
to the mountains too.

No stress... you'll age slower.

So why are you leaving then?

I don't have a choice.
A Japanese has appeared.

The young ones are
no match for him.

- Can't others do it?
- Yes.

I knew who you were

when you left for the mountains

many many years ago...

The top master of Shuangye City
Qiu Dongyue.

- Oh, no no.
- Just take it.

You can't.

- Where's your daughter?
- What for?

I want to give her
some money too.

You remember me
because I was once pretty.

When the two villages
fought over a drain,

my husband broke
his leg fighting.

I'll have to take on
all the farm work come spring.

My body will become

tough and strong like an ox

I'll no longer be pretty.

Come here.

Come here.

This amount will last us years.

If we live frugally,
it'll see us through

the rest of our lives. Right?

I know there's another way
of looking at this gift.

When my husband's leg
was broken,

I went into the city.

This is the price
for a prostitute, right?

You deserve this.

I am a true martial artist.

I just want

to do some good.


Thank you!
Thank you!

Go ask them what the hell
they're talking about.

Have the girls gotten him hooked?

They're talking about tata.


What is tata?



Send more men.

If there are more injuries,

the name of the four schools

will be ruined.

Since last night,

we've had 11 men injured already.

My men have sealed off
the two sides of the river.

Send more.

Send more men.


Brother Qiu.

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Why don't you break in
through the back window

- and get him?
- Stupid! So stupid!

- Stupid! Stupid!
- What do you know?

We are from a reputable
martial arts school

and don't sneak up
on our opponents.

Martial arts principals in China.

Have you heard
of Generals Qi and Yu?

Of course. 16 years ago,

the Japanese invaded
our southeastern shores

and killed numbers of our
soldiers with their swords.

We were lucky to have
Generals Qi and Yu,

who came up with ways

to get them out of our land.

Generals Yu devised
the yuanyang formation

and General Qi used
the Japanese sword to fight back.

By observing by the way

the Japanese wielded their swords?

He realized that
it evolved from rodwork.

He focused on rod training
for his soldiers

and only gave them swords
right before the battle.

And they won all their battles.

Since the Japanese army
couldn't forget

their sword origins
and train with rods,

they were unable
to improve their skills.

That's why General Qi's army
surpassed them.

General Qi's rodwork is called.

Shadow and Sound.

He is using Sound.

That's true.

Shadow and Sound

is known only within the Qi army.

The Emperor once sent the Imperial
Guard Commander to learn it,

but he was turned away.

In the end he only learned
the yuanyang formation from General Yu.

He can fool others

but not me

I use a spear.

The Shadow and Sound concept
applies to spearwork too.

What is this martial arts
concept all about?

If the man on the boat isn't Japanese

and is someone from the Qi army

we'll be a laughingstock.

Life is unpredictable.

Perhaps when the
Japanese were defeated.

They discovered the relationship

between rodwork, and swordplay.


- Not impossible.
- Not impossible.

Whoever he may be,

he's fought against us
for one full day.

He will be defeated.

Brother Qiu, the reputation
of the four schools

depends on you.

Is my beard a little

too black?

In my experience,
the angle of the rod

tells me where the man inside
the boat is standing.

Sound is based on reacting

upon hearing the enemy's weapon
against the rod

without relying on one's sight.

Before the enemy can react,

the rod would've hit him.

This is the beauty of Sound?

But its flaw lies in that
you only have one chance.

You may strike first,

and I can duck before being hit.

Such a cheap trick

I am the true martial artist

I don't need to rely
on such cheap tricks.

In combat, it's all about reaction.

Let's see who moves faster.

Sir, since last night,

we've swam two full laps
around the city.

Are you wearing us down
to drown us? Huh?

No, I'm doing a test.

- Huh?
- You're from the anti-pirate army

I'm testing your water endurance

I want to test the defense skill
of this city.

Well, your test is over

I can't swim any more.

No, you still have strength.

Just kill us!

Shall we swim another lap?

Where's my partner?

- Who?
- The Japanese.

Oh, at Master Qie's.

Why didn't you go earlier?

Security is usually

more lax in the daytime.


You're a military genius.

You are too, since you understand.

Come with me, men. Let's go.

Go on home, Brother Qiu.

Tell me where it is
that you want to go

I'll take you.



To my home then.

Not inside

I'm feeling better.

The air is...

better here.

You shouldn't have returned.

You know that I don't
want you here.

I know why you left

for the mountains.

You took the daughter
of the Shi family

in Boadi City as your wife.

You never thought that she would
bring her bodyguard

along with her, did you?

Since she was
from a military family

you really didn't think much of it

until the day you found them together,

and then you finally saw

that they were actually lovers.

I would have killed them,

but instead you

left for the mountains,

and left your entire fortune

for the two adulterers.

Tell me why.

After you left, I took over

as the leader of the four schools.

You know, I could have killed them

and taken your fortune,

but I decided not to do it

I treated them well

and let them live on happily.

Do you know why?

So that you would never return.

Your words

are killing me.

I cannot compete with you.

I'll leave,

far away,

when I recover.

You're still my brother.

Take care.

Fear not.

I just need a favor.

Here are..

Three pieces of gold.

Please give these

to a woman named Gai'e.

She lives in Yinma Village.

I thought I would die

on that boat.

I had one regret...

That I did not give her?

The last of my coins.

It's a small


but it's hers.

Mmm. I will go.

I never understood

why you tolerated

your wife's affair.


I'm too old.

This is good.

You can stay here.

You're going to kill me?

Don't kill me. Please don't.

Everyone come here.

Can we talk about this first, please?

I would like to dry
my armor in the sun first.

It's made of paper paste.

After being in the water for so long
it'll lose its shape.

I'm almost 50

clothed in paper like a kid.

Not good enough for metal.

Paper armor is better than metal armor.

Once the paper paste hardens,

it's resistant to water,
it can withstand powerful arrows.

It's lighter too.

You're the expert. So what?

I'd prefer metal armor.

Master, we all know
that it's been many years

since you have touched a weapon.

Tell us, did anything happen?

I am the best martial arts fighter
in Shuangye.

It is time.

Time to end this saga.

Do not follow me.


Careful... my foot.

Ah. Forget about it.

What's the next step?

The masters are all by the river.

No one's at the mansion.

We'll start a fire at the mansion,

so they'll all come back and put it out.

We'll have a better chance
against them if they're tired.

I stood on my feet for so long

and I realized one thing...

The combat skills of the military

are different from the martial world.

Let's just give up.

The Qi army is gone.

It was your idea
to pass on the secret skills

to keep the memory alive!

Not anymore!

The waterway is our exit.

What are you doing?!

Your dream is now my dream.

Use this as a crutch.

What's going on?

The three girls from the boat

can't go home,

the poor things.

I take it that
they've been fed, right?

What are they doing?

They are trying

to show their gratitude to us.

I see you've brought your weapon.

Are you going in?

- Do you have any wine?
- We dance better with wine.

- Give us some wine.
- Give us some wine, please.

Give us wine.

Serve the wine.

You're out of luck

I planned to kill you in your sleep.

It's hard to be kind.

Do it now.

Being forgiven

is harder than being punished.

You should have

killed us back then.


I should have

done so.

Just kill me.

You wanna die?

I won't kill you.

Let's exchange some secrets.

General Qi is a hero that I admire.

It's good to pass on

his skills.

Do what you need to do

I didn't see anything.

Hey, you didn't tell me your secret.

I never promised I would.

Starting a fire is not very smart.

Don't you have

a better idea?

Yes, but I'm alone.

Use another method. I'll help.

You realize that you could die.

I can hardly wait.

It's an hour to sunset.

With these two lanterns hung here,

the shadows from outside
will be reflected in here.


When the top of the shadows
touch the earring,

that's when you strike.

It'll be accurate.

Just like that?

The others are highly skilled.

This rodwork

is a technique

for beginners to beat masters.

Thanks for helping Take care.

What do you call this technique?


What is your name?

I'll tell you next time.

Will we meet again?

I'll meet you once
for everyone you defeat.

- Guys...
- Why don't you dance?

- Oh, come on.
- Dance for us.

- Dance for us.
- Come on, just a little.

- Dance for us. Come on.
- Dance. Oh, come on.

- Dance for us. Come on!
- Dance! Dance! Dance!


Get these dancers out of here.

- This is getting ridiculous.
- Go on.

- Go on now. Move move move move.
- Go on, move.

- Go on, go on, go on.
- Move move move.

- Brother Qie, don't get mad.
- Don't get mad.

Boil some oil.

Whatever for?

To Prepare my spear

I'm using it on the Japanese.

Go in.

Come on, let's go.

You go on ahead.

Our bad thoughts
make us do this.

Blame it on our custom

Chinese girls don't dance

like you girls do.

All right, we will do
what you guys ask of us,

but there's three of us
and five of you guys.

It's not civilized

I understand.

There are two short straws
in my hand here.

The ones who get them leave...
No complaints.

Don't just settle it like that.

Can't you act like real men

and kill each other for us?

Brother! Bro!

How could we forget
to keep count?

I'm the only one left
It's one to three.

Surely it's civilized to you now.

Sure it is!

We can climb out from here.

Those five men again!
It's their ghosts!

Brother Qie, the oil's been
boiling for hours.

Add another two buckets.

Master Qie!

Master Qie!


Move aside.

Come here.
Let me test your strength.

I don't mean to bother you
but I have urgent business.

- Speak.
- Is Qiu Dongyue in town?

- Yes.
- I heard he was injured by the Japanese

and is now in your home.

- Yes.
- And what about Ms. Shi?

Well, she's been gone
since she heard the news

I think she must have

snuck into your residence, Master.

You could've done the same

I thought about doing that too,

but I'd rather have your permission.

Thank you

I've cooked a pot of oil.

Come take a look.

At 22 years old

I used a spear
that weighed 40 lbs,

which I used till I was 53.

The man I admire most
is Qiu Dongyue.

Since he left for the mountains,

no one worthy

has been around for me to use
such a heavy weapon against.

This spear is made of bamboo?

When boiling oil
is poured onto the bamboo,

it doesn't break easily against metal

I didn't know.

You're the bodyguard
from Madam Qiu's maiden home,

and it's a habit for you
to call her "Ms. Shi."

But Brother Qiu is a man I admire,

so do address her as Madam Qiu.

At least in front of me.

Yes sir, you are right.

A Japanese! He's here!
Someone help me!

You. You are back.

Your strength is very scary.

Come on!
Please, no more tests!

You have a point.
You've helped me a lot

I need to explain things to you

16 years ago, Japanese pirates
invaded our coast.

General Qi and General Yu...

It's all right

I already have the answer I need.

What's that?

You're a tata.


It's a custom of ours

that if a woman has
risked her life for a man,

this man is now
and forever her tata.

- What is a tata?
- Destiny.

What's with the mess?

The Japanese got in
and injured a few men

Gan Gang.

My head

really aches.

Where is Ms. Shi?

Why would she see me?

I will leave

once I recover

and never return.

You'll stay in the city with Ms. Shi

perhaps forever.

Master Qie is a very

powerful man in this city.

If you can help him

get rid of the Japanese invader,

you'll have his backing in the future.

Thank you.

You're the top master

and you were defeated.

How can I defeat him?

I'm very old now,

my senses are slow

but I still have technique.

I can help you.

- Closer.
- Who's that?

- Go away.
- Closer.

- Get lost! I said get lost!
- It's me.

- Master!
- Master Qiu?


This man is very skilled.

He's adjusting his breathing.

Once his breath is
at its most calm,

his reflexes will
be the fastest.


The trick lies
in those two lanterns.

The attacks aren't based
on your movement,

but on your shadow.
That's why he's faster.

This is Shadow.

Yes, I know what to do now.

What do you know?

I'll destroy the lanterns

and then barge in.

And battle it out for a few rounds?

Masters don't fight that way.

We strike once.

At your age,

you should be fighting
like a master.

Move forward one inch at a time,

very very slowly

so that he doesn't see
any change in the shadow.

Walk towards the door.

The moment you see
your shadow on the doorway

swing your ax upwards.

What next?

He's dead.

But how is that possible?

I don't even know if he's on the left

or the right side of the door.

Just swing your ax upwards.

If he's on the left

the ax will swing left.

If on the right, it'll swing right.

But that's impossible.

It's hard to comprehend a master.

Don't think. Just believe in me.

Go on. Now.

Qiu Dongyue,
I tricked you into leaving.

You were so focused on martial arts

that you never suspected anything.

But an impure heart destroys one's art.

Before today,
I would've never imagined

that I'd lose my fighting spirit.

Among the traditional weapons,

spears are ranked first
and rods are second.

The rod is designed
to defeat the spear.

I missed killing him by half an inch.

My spear feels different.

You were right, Brother Qiu.


Master, a Japanese broke in.

Please go see.

Let it be.

Yi Ho. Yi Ho!

I'm the Japanese pirate.

Come and get me!

I'm Japanese!
I am Japanese!

I'm Japanese!

I'm Japanese!
I am Japanese!

I'm Japanese!
I am Japanese!

- I'm Japanese!
- Yi Ho.

Yi Ho. Yi Ho.

- Yi Ho. Yi Ho. Yi Ho.
- Yi Ho!

My name is General Liu Kai

from the anti-pirate army.


My lord. My lord.

Congratulations, you've got him.

You're so brave! You're my tata.

What's a tata?

- Destiny.
- He's my tata.

- No, he's mine.
- He's my tata.

- He's my tata.
- He's mine!

- Mine. He's my tata.
- Mine!

- No. He's mine!
- My tata!

- My tata.
- He's mine.

We know that you're
from the Qi army.

That's why we didn't
use arrows against you.

Now that things have
spiraled out of control,

if you continue to resist,

the 600 arrows from our reserves

are here and ready to be used.

If you walk out the door,

we'll give you a chance

to compete at Wuyi Lane.

If you defeat all four schools,

you'll be able to set
up your own school.

We've fought already.

We've fought.

We've fought too.

Your skills are poor
and I am injured.

We should stop

and let the real masters continue.

Stepping aside is a virtue.


So your sword can
be drawn this way too.

Japanese never do it this way.

General Qi increased
the sword's length.

Japanese swords are sharp
on all sides.

Ours is sharp only at the tip.

The other edges can be used
to block attacks.

You can hold it here,
use it like a shorter sword.

General Qi is
in a league of his own.

It's a pity that
I didn't get to meet him

even though we live
in the same age.

General Qi defeated
many enemies with this sword.

I will use it to defeat you.

Watch out.

Thank you.

Don't look at my weapon.

Watch my feet.

I lost.

This sword lost.


Hold on, young man.

You lost on the basis
of skills, not sword.

You all saw the sword is unique

and it would be suitable
for a new school.

- That's true.
- I saw that.


You brought two swords.

This one will stay here,

displayed in the weapons rack

of the new school
as proof of this fight.

Take this sword.

Be sure

to pass it on.

Will he be back?

Tata! Tata.
Tata. Tata!


Tata! Tata!

Tata. Tata. Tata!

Tata! Tata.

Keep walking.
Don't look at them.


Tata, everyone knows

that you've always
hated paper armor

and wished for a suit
of metal armor.

The Japanese was a fake

and you didn't get
what you wished for.

My pitiful tata!

Let us give you
what your heart desires!

The general?

Hurry... another challenger
at Wuyi Lane.

Tata. Tata.

Never trust those
martial arts masters.

- Tata. Tata.
- They didn't inform me again!

Tata. Tata.
Tata! Tata! Tata!

Tata! Tata!


You okay?

I am fine.

That's good then.

You're leaving

without saying goodbye
to anyone?

Do not be so

hard on my wife.


I once asked you for a favor,

to give my last bit of money

to someone.

I want to do it myself now.

I know the way out.


What is your name?

I'll tell you the next time.

Will we meet again?

I'll meet you once
for everyone you defeat.

Where are we going?