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The Legend of the Swordsman
The Legend of the Swordsman
Actors: Jet Li, Brigitte Lin, Michelle Reis, Waise Lee, Rosamund Kwan
Directors: Siu-Tung Ching, Stanley Tong
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy
R     2002     1hr 40min

Global action megastar Jet Li unleashes all of his devastating martial arts power in this thrilling tale of a reluctant warrior who becomes a timeless hero! A young swordsman, Ling Wei (Li), and other followers of the Sun ...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Jet Li, Brigitte Lin, Michelle Reis, Waise Lee, Rosamund Kwan
Directors: Siu-Tung Ching, Stanley Tong
Creators: Hark Tsui, Jack Maeby, Louis Cha, Pik-yin Tang, Tin-suen Chan
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Hong Kong Action, Jet Li, Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Dimension
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/24/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: Japanese

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Movie Reviews

Excellent movie but boycott Disney/Miramax/Buena Vista...
leelee | Chicago, IL | 08/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"DO NOT BUY "Legend of the Swordsman" by Buena Vista. This is an edited and English dubbed version butchered by this studio. Buy ONLY the original HK version "Swordsman II."

I'm going to pass on some valuable info to my fellow Hong Kong movie buffs. Do yourselves a favor and visit - they are a terrific Canadian distributor of original HK version dvds. "Dream Lovers" is only about $7-$8 USD. Most of their HK titles fall within this price range. "Hero" now at theatres starring Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung is also available for this price. Their service is outstanding. You can pretty much find any title with original Chinese audio and English subtitles.

Don't buy any American studio dubbed or edited versions!!! Always read the packaging carefully - don't judge by it's cover. Boycott Disney and their subsidiaries such as Miramax/Dimension films and Buena Vista until they SHOW RESPECT for Asian cinema. Don't throw your hard earned money away and allow studios to treat YOU THE MOVIE FAN with disrespect! They are buying HK catalog titles and butchering by editing and English dubbing. They edit and dub because they wrongly believe American audiences will be less accepting of viewing HK films with original Chinese audio and English subtitles. Talk about racism and insulting the intelligence of American movie-goers!!! Disney is also purchasing HK titles to keep in storage without release. By doing so, Disney can keep the original HK studios from releasing these titles and have a monopoly on the catalog. Fans are left unable to own their favorite HK films. These studios do not care about art or movie fans by their disrespectful treatment of the original versions...all they care about is MONEY! Talk about DisNazi tactics! If Sony Pictures can release "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" with Chinese audio and English subtitles both at movie theatres and DVD, then why can these studios not do the same?? "Crouching Tiger" grossed over $125 million alone at the box office. But Disney still thinks American movie-goers are narrow-minded and ignorant. And Disney probably thought their release "Freddy Got Fingered" was the highest expression of the movie art form. The studios know that DVD is a top money grossing format and can save any box office bomb from total annihilation. Miramax is making minor improvement - they did release "Iron Monkey" in original audio and subtitled. However, they could not keep their hands from EDITING this great film. They thought it was too long! I believe fans deserve to see the uncut original version regardless of length. Did we not sit through 3 hrs of "Titanic" and almost 4 hrs of "Dancing with Wolves?" both box office blockbusters. So why the double standard with HK films?

Visit the WEB ALLIANCE FOR THE RESPECTFUL TREATMENT OF ASIAN CINEMA to sign the petition to Miramax. Read all about our mission. I gave you a summary of what is happening to the HK movie catalog. Over 13,000 signatures have been collected. We need all fans to help save the original HK studio versions and preserve our rights as fans to see the original cut as intended by the filmmaker.
You want "Swordsman II", not "Legend of the Swordsman"
J. Hou | Shanghai, China | 11/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Most of the people in these reviews who are UNhappy with the DVD are so because they bought "Legend of the Swordsman", the one with the "Jet Li Collection" notation on the cover. DO NOT BUY THAT VERSION. These reviews are shared between "Swordsman II" and "Legend of the Swordsman", so some of the reviews that instruct you to buy the "other one", are erroneous, depending on which version you're already looking at. Make sure you look at 2 things which will tell you if you are buying the right one:
1) the title - just to reiterate, get "Swordsman II"
2) the DVD cover - It should by an orange/red, with Jet Li, Bridgitte Lin, Rosamund Kwan, and Michelle Reis on it, total of 4 people. It also spells "Swordsman" with only the first "s". You don't want the one that *only* has Jet Li on the cover.Whew. That all said, this movie is epic. Even admittedly confusing at times. Some say it's unecessary to have seen the first one, but right at the beginning, they hit you with a lot of information about what sect is doing what, and how the japanese are interfering, etc... and the english translation isn't superb, so unless you're willing to pause and read the subtitles over a couple times, you will miss information. This is less so the case if you've seen "Swordsman". Nonetheless, even if you don't understand everything, there is a plethora of things to enjoy in this movie. I first watched this movie when I was about 14. I only fully understood what was going on when I bought the DVD when I was 23. I watched the movie periodically throughout my life, and enjoyed it every time. It's a skillfully done movie, excepting the translation. The subject of the transsexualism is treated VERY well. It is neither overly graphic and sensationalist about it, nor is it too prudish. The fighting is good, though if you're a martial arts fanatic, you might be dissapointed because the scenes are more about spectacle than display of kung fu skills. Flying and diversity of weapons and fighting methods play more than single-human prowess.And one other thing - the translation isn't a good one at all, but I really don't think it should take the rating down more than one star. The movie is still great and exciting, and the poor translation doesn't prevent you from understanding the important drama when it happens."
The greatest Chinese martial arts movie ever!
Devlin Tay | Adelaide, Australia | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Swordsman II" kicks off one year after the events in "Swordsman", although it is not necessary to watch the first movie in order to appreciate its sequel. Both movies are adaptations of Louis Cha's novel, "The Hero who Laughs at the World" ("Xiao Ao Jiang Hu"), although extensive changes have been made to the original story. Most of the main characters from the first movie return but are replaced with different actors. In "Swordsman", the leader of the Huashan clan sacrificed many of his disciples in order to obtain a sacred martial arts manual called the "Sacred Flower Scroll". Disillusioned by his betrayal and by the constant power struggles in the pugilistic world, his remaining disciples, including eldest disciple Ling Huchong (Jet Li) and daughter Yue Lingshan (Michelle Reis) decide to retreat to the Ox Mountain for a life of seclusion. Unfortunately, the Scroll has fallen into the hands of a power-hungry warrior called Tongfang Bubai i.e. "The Invincible Dawn" (Brigitte Lin). Dawn has captured the father of Ling's old flame, Ren Yingying (Rosamund Kwan), and usurped his position as leader of the Miao tribe. He now plans to march north to the Chinese capital with a troop of 300,000 to overthrow the Ming Emperor. Ling agrees to help Yingying rescue her father, and the last of the Huashan disciples are again drawn into a deadly power struggle. "Swordsman II" is absolutely the best martial arts movie ever made. Jet Li is at his charismatic best and is far better as "the hero who laughs at the world" than Sam Hui was in "Swordsman". Ling is not a perfect person - in fact, he is a drunkard and a womaniser, not the best of role models - but he is also upright and loyal, and Jet Li plays him with such good humour and optimism that we easily forgive Ling's flaws. The three lead actresses who play Ling's love interests also give wonderful performances - not to mention they are amongst the prettiest faces in the Hong Kong movie industry. Michelle Reis (who takes over Cecilia Yip's role in "Swordsman") is excellent as the naïve, jealous and tomboyish Lingshan, whom Ling treats as his "little brother". Rosamund Kwan is also great as the world-weary Yingying, who would love nothing more than to leave for a life of seclusion with Ling but remains tied to her father and her people. But the greatest accolades must go to Brigitte Lin for portraying a complex (and male!) character, the Invincible Dawn, a villain for whom audiences could feel empathy. Dawn starts off as a man (Brigitte Lin's voice was replaced with a man's voice in the early parts of the movie) but becomes increasingly feminine as the movie progresses, for reasons revealed later in the movie. He sacrifices everything for power, not for himself, but for the sake of the oppressed minorities he leads. He is quite invincible, except for the fact that he lets his heart and emotional attachments get the better of him during a crucial battle (note: this movie is actually a disguised gay romance!! *grin*). Brigitte is wonderfully icy cold in some scenes but also remarkably vulnerable as the lonely and misunderstood villain in others. So successful was Brigitte (who was a popular actress in romance movies in the 1970s) at portraying Dawn that her acting career, in the doldrums since the 1980s, was spectacularly revived. She later reprised her role as Dawn in the audaciously spectacular but silly sequel "The East is Red". Two other supporting cast members deserve mentioning - Fannie Yuen as Blue Phoenix, Yingying's lieutenant and confidante, and Candice Yu as Dawn's lovely concubine. Fannie was so good as the vivacious Blue Phoenix in "Swordsman" that she was the only character not replaced with another actor in "Swordsman II". Candice, a great favourite amongst Asian TV audiences in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was drawn out of retirement for a cameo in this movie. And finally, while the fight scenes in "Swordsman II" do not have the poetic beauty of those in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" nor the authenticity of those in "Iron Monkey", it uses wireworks to excellent effect. After over a decade, "Swordsman II" is still the definitive martial arts movie yet to be topped by another. Zhang Yimou's "Hero" comes close, but not nearly enough. Tsui Hark (the producer) and Ching Siu Tung (the director) are still my favourite Hong Kong movie makers."
What happened?
J. Hou | 11/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I just bought this DVD from Amazon on the strength of positive reviews all over the net and Chinese friends who recommend this film or have it in their movie collection.As a film, it looks beautiful and has some of the most intricate swordplay scenes and imaginative fantasy elements I've ever seen in a film. Among the long list of captivating characters/moments - ninjas flying through the air on giant shurikens, a character named Blue Phoenix who shoots snakes from her sleeves, sword fights where swords magically spin around and fight on their own, a male character who fights with hooks and has the ability to absorb the lifeforce of other humans, a sexually ambiguous enemy whose weapon of choice is a needle and thread - it's basically loaded with all the stuff that makes HK fantasy flicks such an trip to watch.Unfortuantely for English speakers, this movie has to have the worst subtitling job I've ever seen in my life. I just finished watching this one all the way through and I have no clue what just happened. The subtitles read like a nonsensical array of bad grammar and gibberish that appear for less than a second at a time. Basically the only thing you can get out of them without putting in major mental work are the characters names.The good thing is that the movie is exciting enough for me to want to watch it again and again. Maybe I'll understand a little bit more this time. But damn, I really want to kill the fool who wrote those subtitles."