The character of blind martial artist has
existed in numerous forms throughout film history, including the longest
running Japanese film series based on the wandering swordsman and ronin, Zatoichi.
There have also been iterations of the trope in other national cinemas,
including Hong Kong and Hollywood. The Chinese release, Eye for an Eye: The
Blind Swordsman, doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it is a solid contribution
to the archetype, expertly made with impressive choreography and gorgeous
cinematography. Even with an overcomplicated plot despite the simplicity of the
story, this is one of the best action films to come out of China in years.
The simple storyline
of Eye for an Eye follows Blind Cheng (Miao Xie), a registered bounty
hunter taking jobs to save money for an operation to regain his sight. Cheng
comes across a young winemaker named Ni Yan (Weiman Gao) on her wedding day,
accepting an invitation to the celebration in order to partake in the libations.
After overindulging, Cheng wakes to discover the aftermath of a massacre and
sets out to find the missing bride and to enact justice against those
responsible for the violence.
As simple as the
story may be, the cast of characters overwhelms what should have been a straightforward
genre exercise. Thankfully, it doesn’t matter if each detail about the
intricate relationships and their backstories are clear when the action starts.
Expertly choreographed with style and precision, Eye for an Eye
understands what truly makes an action film sing. What makes it especially impressive
is the decision to use practical stunt work in place of CGI, which has lazily
been used as a shortcut in much of the action genre across multiple national
In addition to
the awesome fight choreography, Eye for an Eye is further enhanced by
its beautiful moody cinematography. The film balances grounded action with
stylized camerawork, which looks even better in the high-definition presentation
of the Blu-ray release. Unfortunately, this is the only benefit of the release,
with no special features beyond an optional English-language dubbing I would
not recommend. There is also a trailer.
Special Features: 1/10