Butterfly Swords

| July 3, 2012

On July 10th 2012 Well Go USA will release the 1993 martial arts action flick Butterfly Swords, starring Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh, and Tony Leung, on DVD and Digital. Donnie Yen has received much acclaim recently for his many contemporary works, including Ip Man 1 and 2, Bodyguards and Assassins, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, Hero, Flash Point, and many others. He is getting full court press as the heir to Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, and deservedly so. Of course, the listed “co-stars” Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh are even more popular in their home country and are truly the stars of this film. Even so, Yen’s martial artistry and balletic stunt work is prominently featured so Butterfly Swords is definitely one to watch if you are a fan of his amazing work.

In Butterfly Swords, Yen, Yeoh and Leung are all members of an elite group of assassins loyal to the king. When a group of rebels threatens to take down the empire, the assassins are dispatched with orders to infiltrate the organization in order to stop them. It’s all a very complex excuse to show off the amazing artistry of these very finely talented performers.

Butterfly Swords features some truly acrobatic and bloody action sequences. Michelle Yeoh stars as Sister Ko, who raised Sing (Tony Leung) since he was a child and has fallen in love with him as an adult. Unfortunately for her Sing really loves the beautiful young Butterfly (Joey Wong). Donnie Yen, of course, is in love with Sister Ko, but can’t tell her since he’s shy and deemed a bit unusual by his peers. All of them are trying to intercept a communique from rebel bad guy Tsui Kam-Kong, all while defending the empire.

But the main reason for watching Butterfly Swords is the action. It uses plenty of camera tricks to get the shots and some are truly impressive. Ching Siu-Tung once again pushes the boundaries of fight choreography and his risks once again prove successful Among the usual period fantasy fare you will see Tony Leung launched like an arrow by Michelle Yeoh and a scarf that decapitates people. There is a very competently orchestrated scene within a bamboo forest, which has been utilized later by Ching Siu-Tung in House of Flying Daggers. Donnie Yen, as usual, is the stand-out in the martial arts scenes and the camera tricks enhance Tony Leung’s own skills in this area. Michelle Yeoh is as superb and wonderful as ever.

The release features newly constructed English subtitles. The film releases on DVD and Digital on July 10th and is a must for fans of the wu xia genre.

About the Author:

Del Harvey is a co-founder of Film Monthly. He is an independent filmmaker, film director, screenwriter, and film teacher, currently living in Chicago.

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