The Swordsman (1992) Poster


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The Swordsman is overlong and underwhelming.
Comeuppance Reviews11 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Andrew (Lamas) is a Toronto cop on the edge...the edge of a sword that is (yuk yuk). When archaeologist Julie (Stansfield) witnesses the theft of a sword thought to have belonged to Alexander The Great, not only does Andrew have to protect her, but he has to explore the seedy Canadian underground fencing circuit to find answers. Thankfully, Andrew is an accomplished fencer, so when he meets Stratos (Champion), a man who stages illegal underground fence-fighting tournaments to the death, he doesn't stand out as a cop. Adding to all this is the prerequisite romance between Andrew and Julie, and the dreams Andrew has been having, which indicate who he may have been in a past life. Will Andrew be able to solve this "Gordian Knot" of complications? Find out today! In the 90's, fencing must have been huge, because there's also Ring Of Steel (1994). Given the choice, we prefer Ring Of Steel to The Swordsman. One of the few things that stand out in this movie is Lorenzo Lamas' amazing hair. It almost single-hairedly saves the movie. But sadly there's more padding in this movie than in the fencing outfits of Andrew and Stratos. And at 98 minutes, there's just too much filler. Probably the movie's strongest idea occurs within the framework of the no-rules, 2-men-enter-one-man-leaves fencing duels. It's primarily a swordfight, but it can end with an MMA-style takedown. That's interesting. That idea should have been developed more, instead of some of the weaker stuff. Thus, the movie could have used a bit more excitement.

But everything Lamas does is cool - from his awesome fencing bandanna which stylishly protects his lovely hair, to the way he flicks on a lightswitch. Stansfield as his female foil provides the eye candy, and she was also in Best Of The Best 2 (1993) and Sweepers (1998). Director Kennedy is also responsible for Red Scorpion 2 (1994), so make of that what you will. While The Swordsman doesn't really skimp on the swords, it's a little on the slow side, making the "flashbacks to another age" - which will remind you of The Minion (1998) and The Order (2001), and of course Highlander (1986) - feel a bit odd. Adding to that is the preponderance of nude and seminude men (more than usual). It would be rather easy to see a gay subtext in this movie (you don't have to be Freud to see the symbolism of "Swordfighting"...) What were they thinking? The Swordsman is overlong and underwhelming. But there is a behind-the-scenes featurette on the Republic VHS tape, so be sure and check that out. If you could just see the featurette somewhere, it might save you some time. The Swordsman is really for die-hard Lamas fans only.
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"It was a sword dick"
Warning: Spoilers
By accident, I watched the SWORDSMAN trilogy in reverse, and now that I've arrived at the original Lorenzo Lamas vehicle, the best thing that I can say about it is that at least it's not any worse than the features that succeeded it. THE SWORDSMAN is a very weird but oddly low-key action flick about sword-fighting and reincarnation. It strikes a different tone than Lorenzo's other low-budget output from this decade, though not necessarily one that I am interested in experiencing for a second time.

The story: A fencing cop with an unnatural psychic ability (Lamas) is assigned to protect a witness to a murder (Claire Stansfield), and in the process uncovers an underground sword-fighting circuit and a mysterious conspiracy regarding the ancient sword of Alexander the Great.

Writer-director Michael Kennedy achieves a surprisingly restrained quality to his movie: though there are moments of typical 90s schlockiness with unwarranted romantic scenes and a synthesized soundtrack, most of the film has a quiet, bleak, and almost melancholy air. This may have served the feature well had it focused on straight drama, but instead, the film increasingly delves into the weird visions that Lamas' character has during his convulsive attacks. These culminate in ghostly apparitions and past-life imagery. (SPOILER) If you ask me, a movie that stars Lorenzo Lamas as the reincarnation of Alexander the Great should be bright and bombastic, not dreary and subdued.

The film's action content is almost entirely sword-related, and true to the style of the movie, there's not enough of it. There are seven swordfights, though two of them are modern fencing matches that aren't as exciting as their no-rule counterparts. Lamas looks good with a blade and has at least one pretty good match, but for the most part, the fights don't mesmerize. With the exception of Raoul Trujillo as the lead henchman and Michael Champion as the villain, none of the fighters are highlighted and all of them are dressed, armed, and perform exactly the same. GLADIATOR COP and MORTAL CONQUEST weren't exactly action masterpieces, but at least they featured a greater variety of combatants and sword styles.

I'm not sure what it was about this picture that warranted those two sequels, and I challenge you to find what it was. Actually, I don't, because I don't recommend this film to anyone but Lamas completionists. Look elsewhere for your duels.
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Lorenzo The Great
bkoganbing12 April 2010
The Swordsman finds Lorenzo Lamas cast as a LAPD detective who is having some incredibly realistic dreams involving him in an ancient setting participating in a duel. When he gets assigned to a robbery/homicide where the sword of Alexander The Great is stolen those dreams take on an even greater clarity.

When he's not a cop, Lamas has fencing as a hobby and an illegal fencing club with duels to the death holds the key to both Lorenzo's dreams and the robbery.

What that is you'll have to watch the film for should you want to. Let's say that chief villain Michael Kitchen has a really long time grudge against Lamas.

I agree with the viewer that this film is a really bad ripoff of The Highlander. It's all kind of dumb, but Lorenzo does have his fans and you'll get many opportunities to see him in stages of undress. That's a good enough reason as any to see this film.
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Silly knockoff of HIGHLANDER
dj_bassett2 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS With Lorenzo Lamas as the reincarnation of Alexander the Great and Michael Champion as his evil nemesis fighting over the same damn sword down through the ages. (Although the movie starts with the sword being unearthed in an archaeological dig, which means it's been lost all this time? Well, whatever.) Slow-moving and not much helped by the tentative acting of Mr. Lamas, who seems unsure of himself here. Oddly little action: there is some worthwhile swordplay about halfway through, though it's a bit stagy for my tastes. The big climax is a bust as Michael Champion was apparently uncomfortable with extended swordplay sequences: there's far too much intercutting, presumably to hide the stunt doubles. Stick with HIGHLANDER.
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Watchable but not terrific.
GlendaC21 March 2005
Not one of Lorenzo Lamas' best movies, but watchable. Predictably fights joined together by story with sex thrown in. It could have been better. I wouldn't liken it to Highlander at all except that they both contain sword fights - although the fighting music made me think of HL. If you want to see the outtakes, watch the sequel 'Gladiator Cop' which seems to have been put together almost entirely from the cutting room floor. The story is different enough to separate this film from other such 'B' grade movies which struggle to have a story at all. Will it make you truly believe in re-incarnation (which always seems to be of the famous)? I doubt it.
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bronsonskull7215 July 2003
Lorenzo Lamas stars as Andrew the reincarnation of "Alexander the Great" who receives visions to take on his long lost cousin Stratos (Michael Champion) in this stylish yet second rate knock off of Highlander. Some okay actionscenes but mainly it's a been there done that movie.
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A great movie with lots of action.
yatahaeshadai28 February 2000
The legendary sword of Alexander The Great has just been unearthed. It is said to have been blessed by Apollo. Stolen before it can be made the focus of a museum exhibit it is now being used in illegal swordplay exhibitions and Det. Andrew Barrett is on the case. Det. Barrett has been having strange dreams and visions. Julie Wilkins the archaeologist who found the sword believes it is because he is the reincarnation of Alexander The Great. But can she convince Andrew before it is too late? Lorenzo Lamas makes both a believable haunted detective and a vengeful Alexander. A pre-Renegade Lamas is unbelievably masculine in straight black hair that hangs half way down his back. Michael Champion as the long lost cousin is the perfect foil for Lamas.
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