Xiao ao jiang hu zhi: Dong Fang Bu Bai [DVD]

プロデュース Chi-Wai Cheung , Writer Elsa Tang , Writer Hark Tsui , Writer Jack Maeby , Writer Louis Cha , Writer Tin-suen Chan
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It's not necessary to see the first Swordsman before you see Swordsman II--though some of the characters are the same, the cast is almost completely different. Into the thick of a clan feud in long-ago China comes young swordsman Ling (Jet Li), who has a romantic attachment to the leader of one side of the feud (Rosamund Kwan). However, on the other side is an evil sorcerer, Asia the Invincible (Brigitte Lin), who has found a magical scroll that will give the user formidable powers if the user castrates himself. Not only has Asia done so, over the course of the movie he transforms into a woman. Ling accidentally meets the newly feminine Asia, who remains silent to hide her still masculine voice, and they find themselves in the throes of a powerful attraction. But this much of the plot is only the tip of the iceberg; Hong Kong movies routinely pack enough story for three films into one, and Swordsman II is no exception. What is exceptional is the emotional power of the story, the superb performances, and the spectacular and hyperkinetic cinematography. Lin is completely magnetic and Li is at his buoyant, charismatic best. There's something so delightful and inviting about the special effects in Hong Kong films that it's simply more fun to believe them than not, even if they aren't realistic by Hollywood standards. At their best, Hong Kong fantasies (like A Chinese Ghost Story or Green Snake) become much more than camp. An epic of amazing scope and surprising richness, Swordsman II is quite possibly one of the greatest movies ever made. --Bret Fetzer
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