Swordsman II — Trailer Tuesday
Posted on August 9, 2011 by Chris Nelson
Sorry for the lack of updates. We’ve had a number of obligations the past week or two that have left little to no time for the site. We should be picking things up and getting back to our regular schedule this week.
Anyways, the selection for this week is Swordsman II, one of the best Jet Li films, and one of my favorite wuxia pictures. I first saw Swordsman II over 10 years ago, and while I found it interesting, I didn’t really appreciate how impressive it was until my recent re-viewing. They really don’t make them like this anymore.
Here’s a plot summary from Wikipedia:
Linghu Chong, Yue Lingshan and members of the Mount Hua Sect are planning to retire from the jianghu. They learn that Dongfang Bubai has seized control of the Sun Moon Holy Cult and is secretly plotting with some wokou (Japanese pirates) to rebel against the imperial court and dominate China. Dongfang had castrated himself in order to master the skills in the Sunflower Manual, and his appearance has become more feminine, even though he is now a formidable pugilist. Linghu meets Dongfang by chance (without knowing Dongfang’s true identity), mistakes him for a beautiful young woman, and falls in love with “her”. Linghu is distracted by Dongfang’s lover, Shishi, and Dongfang uses the opportunity to kill Linghu’s fellows. Linghu is knocked out and imprisoned in an underground dungeon later, where he meets Ren Woxing by coincidence and both of them escape from the prison together. Linghu brings Yue Lingshan, Ren Yingying, Ren Woxing and Xiang Wentian with him to confront Dongfang later and Dongfang dies after falling off a cliff. Ren Woxing regains control of his sect and starts killing the traitors who defected to Dongfang. Before the film ends, Linghu and Yue leave secretly with Ren Yingying’s help as they know Ren Woxing cannot tolerate them.
As you can probably tell, this thing is fricking crazy. Youve got a borderline-alcholic protagonist (Li), and his mistaken-pseudo-gay-romance with an androgynous antagonist (Brigitte Lin, she’s always playing eunuch dudes…I don’t know why), battles with ninjas that fly around on spinning blades, sword slices that chop trees (and horses) in half, a cross dressing Michelle Reis, and just all out madness. There’s nothing even remotely logical about the events depicted in Swordsman 2, and somehow that level of absurdity makes it all the more awesome. And the practical, low budget effects — amazing. They really don’t make them like this anymore.
I should note here that Dimension films released a butchered cut of the film stateside, titled Legend of the Swordsman (what the hell is up with Weinsten and retitling things Legend of the ___?), which cut 9 minutes of the best material. If you can avoid it, stay far away from that cut of the film.
Anyways, I’ve rambled on enough. It’s time for the trailer.
Note that if you dig Swordsman II, you’ll want to check out its sequel, The East is Red. Though it doesn’t feature Jet Li, it’s arguably an even better film.
And while we’re at it, the trailer for the original (lesser) Swordsman film