With an entirely new set of actors, this movie continues the story from Swordsman (1990). Blademaster and his martial arts school decide to retire to a distant mountain. Before leaving, he ...
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With an entirely new set of actors, this movie continues the story from Swordsman (1990). Blademaster and his martial arts school decide to retire to a distant mountain. Before leaving, he visits his friends, a tribe of snake-wielding women warriors. He finds that they have been attacked, and their leader, Princess Yin-Yin, toward whom he has some romantic feelings, has been abducted. The attacker is her evil uncle Fong, who years before overthrew Yin-Yin's father and took over their sect. Fong also has possession of a sacred scroll which tells how to achieve ultimate martial arts power. Blademaster decides to help Yin-Yin and her imprisoned father, and his romantic complications deepen when his childhood chum and Yin-Yin are joined by a new rival. Blademaster thinks she is an innocent village girl he has saved, but in fact she is Fong! The process of gaining ultimate martial arts power requires self- castration and transmogrification into female form. Written by
many of the previous comments have cited this film as one the best in the martial arts genre. i think there's a little more to it. this film articulates one of the central philosophical questions of the Chinese tradition: withdrawal from the world vs. facing the world. it is a theme featured in all of china's great philosophers, Lao-Tze, Zhuang-Tze, Confucious, and as well as its great poets and artists. it is also, arguably, the central question of Chinese Buddhism.
recall that the film premises on the withdrawal of Jet Li's character and his clan from the world of martial arts (the uniquely Chinese, "Jiang-Hu"). they were tired of the constant battles and blood-shed. "Ox-back Mountain" was, for them, the idyllic place to escape the bitterness of the world. the events of the movie--Jet Li's involvement with Ying Ying, the rescue of Ren Woxing, the appearance of Dong Fang Bu Bai, the brutal slaughter of the Hua Mountain clan--all serve to problem's the possibility of exiting the world.
Linghu Chong's (Jet Li's) conversation with Ren Woxing captures this conflict in these immortal words (my translation): "you (Linghu Chong) know so little about the world. when there is people, there is hatred and resentment, and when there is hatred and resentment, there is Jiang Hu (the world)." this is a pessimistic view of the world, but one that rightly argues for the importance of resentment in the order of the world. moreover, unlike most films that fall into this trap, the Swordsman II does not posit love as a force of reconstitution and re-ordering; love only complicates things...
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