The Legend of the Swordsman Review
By Christopher Null
A decade before Crouching Tiger, Jet Li was flying and spinning impossibly in this ninja/kung fu/sorcerer kinda story. Although it has none of the production values of the movies it inspired, The Legend of the Swordsman (actually a sequel to an earlier film, made with an entirely different cast) is often entertaining, though equally often is tiresome.
Li stars as Ling Wei, a member of a religious sect trying to get out of the world of violence. Of course, the sect stumbles upon a war and find themselves embroiled in it, replete with supernatural battles and high-flying choreography.
The actual plot is a total throwaway -- a mere excuse to get Jet into battle -- whether that's flying through the air in a corkscrew spin or travelling underground with his sword in the air like a shark fin. Wow, this guy has some moves, and when he explodes out of a tree, well, we might not believe it for a second, but it sure is interesting.
Not so for the grandiose yet ultimately stupid story, of course. The Legend of the Swordsman is eye candy for the sword-happy freak in you, and nothing more.
Aka Xiao ao jiang hu zhi dong fang bu bai.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 26th June 1992
Distributed by: Republic Pictures Home Video
Cast & Crew
Starring: Brigitte Lin as Asia the Invincible (Dong Fang Bu Bai), Jet Li as Ling Wu Chung, Rosamund Kwan as Ren Ying Ying, Michelle Reis as Kiddo, Waise Lee as Hattori, Candice Yu On-On as Cici, Fennie Yuen Kit-Ying as Blue Phoenix, Lau Shun as Zen, Yen Shi-Kwan as Wu, Chin Ka-Lok as Chimp