“Three different swordsmen — a swordsman who is going blind, the best swordsman in Joseon Dynasty, and the best swordsman in Qing Dynasty who aspires to be the best even in the Joseon Dynasty — meet each other for their own reasons.”
Director: Jae-Hoon Choi
Writer: Jae-Hoon Choi
Staring: Jang Hyuk, Hyeon-soo Kim, Joe Taslim
Release Date: September 23, 2020
Sure, there is a plot to The Swordsman (2020). But lets be real, that is not what we are here for. You come to The Swordsman expecting a tsunami of fight choreography and bloody kills. Everyone who tunes into this Jae-Hoon Choi projected gets a soaked in such entertainment. The Swordsman is a fast-paced tour-de-force action frenzy that doesn’t slow down once it starts rolling down its bloody mountain.
Okay, so the plot, I guess that we should at least touch on it.
The titular character is Tae Yul (Jang Hyuk), a man in his thirties and losing his sight. His eyes were damaged in a fight when he was younger defending a man he was swore to protect. Now in he is defending his daughter, and when she is kidnapped, he will go to the ends of the earth to get her back.
Tae Yul must battle through a seemingly never-ending battle of bad guys, all belonging to certain dynasties. The men in the fancy robes can squabble over the rule of the land and who has power, Tae Yul will slice his way thought whomever is in his way.
Listen, I am not going to write as if I am an expert on Kung-Fu movies. However, I will type and let you know that The Swordsman delivers in every sense of the world. Tae Yul is the classic quiet hero, the man who has a heavy tongue and a heavy pecker according to his friend at the trade post stop. Tae Yul does not want to fight if not necessary; he was humbled at a younger age and has permanent physical and mental scars. But when Tae Yul does fight, he fights like he has enough pent up testosterone to fuel three legions of Spartan warriors. It is the best.
There is one major fight in The Swordsman that is worth all of the money. Tae Yul enters into an already ruined trade post where violence had just ensued. Smelling the blood soaking into the ground, it is god mode for Tae Yul. The hero begins with a two-on-one handicap match and has the added variable of a legion of gunman lying in wait. The way the action is stitched together is fluid and fun. Yes, I said fun. There is the blend of the realistic fast-paced slice and dice combined with a bit (not too much), slow motion pizzaz.
The simplicity of The Swordsman‘s main plot, combined with the amazing action, make it a movie everyone should seek out. There are some small moments where the political leanings take a bit too much time, but come the next sword slash, the 30 seconds of extra boredom is forgotten. The Swordsman reminds me that I need to take more of these chances and seek out these type of movies. Expand my horizons.
Also, just before wrapping up here, I need to mark on one thing about Kung-Fu movies I love, every, single, time. The way this movie, and the movies of this genre, show respect in the subtleties is awesome. It forces you to look for the little moments and you’ll give the movie its measure of respect as well.
If you enjoy The Raid: Redemption (2011), then it is a guarantee you will like The Swordsman.
STANKO RATING: B+ (4.0/5 Stars)
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