The Legend Of The Swordsman

The Legend Of The Swordsman (1991)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Jet Li, Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has created a dedicated line of releases for actor Jet Li to cash in on his current popularity among American moviegoers. However the way it is done shows that the studio has no respect whatsoever for the actors work and simply tries to turn a few quick bucks.

’The Legend Of The Swordsman’ is the 1991 film that has been previously imported and released by Tai Seng under the title ’Swordman 2’ – please take a look at our review of the disc here for more details and information on the film and the disc. As such I was eager to see how Buena Vista Home Entertainment would treat this beautiful film that brings us Jet Li in one of his best performances.

To make a long story short, the new DVD is horrible and shameful. The film is drawn from a horrible print that has not been cleaned up at all. As a result the presentation is riddled with speckles, scratches, mars and other blemishes. It has registration problems, causing the image to jitter and has inconsistent colors. The transfer also shows edge-enhancement throughout, giving the film an unnaturally stark and ’edgy’ look, which is a far cry from the original silky cinematography. Although presented in anamorphic widescreen, the quality of the presentation is so bad that it makes Tai Seng’s non-anamorphic version look like a million bucks by comparison.

The horror doesn’t end here, though. Buena Vista Home Entertainment hasn’t even included the movie’s original language tracks and subjects the viewer to an amateurish English dub that doesn’t even manage to adequately capture what’s being said in the original film.
Worse still is the fact how Buena Vista Home Entertainment has been mutilating this masterfully crafted film. It has been cut by 9-minutes leaving out some vital moments from the script. What are they thinking?

This release is a hack-job that has evidently been done by someone who has neither understanding nor appreciation for Hong Kong movies. It is a shame that major studios these days are robbing specialist studios like Tai Seng of the opportunity to release these films in adequate form just to cash in on a fad. Shame on Buena Vista Home Entertainment for their practice to create such roadblocks and even more for violating these films in the most disrespectful manner. It is not only disrespectful to the viewers who are subjected to a shadow of the movie, but also to the filmmakers and the star they so proudly tout on the packaging to boost their sales.

Save your money and buy Tai Seng’s version of the film instead – which is the version of the film that the filmmakers wanted you to see.