It took a bit of searching online for
information about the Chinese martial arts epic, The Flying Swordsman, before
I realized the reason that I was finding little was because the title has been
changed from the original translation, The Hidden Fox. The Hidden Fox
may be a better name for the film’s narrative, though The Flying Swordsman
is likely a choice intended to signal to audiences what genre this film falls
into. Unfortunately, the storytelling is unnecessarily convoluted regardless of
what it is called.
Even those who are unfamiliar with
the genre term ‘wuxia’ are likely familiar with the fact that characters in
these movies seem to defy gravity, almost even able to fly, if only thanks to
the cultural phenomenon that was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The
Flying Swordsman leans into the magical elements of this martial arts
world, taking things a step further by giving the characters superhuman powers.
A group of these evil mystical fighters set out to find a hidden fortress,
unaware that there is a trap being set for them by a mysterious swordsman with
a grudge from the past.
With eight villains in addition to
the swordsman, whose history is revealed through non-chronological editing,
there is a lot going on narratively and it is often hard to keep track of all
the moving parts. While the film is consistently visually stunning, getting
invested in the storyline can be difficult when there are so many characters to
keep track of and the plot ungraciously jumps around in time to provide endless
twists. In short, there is too much going on to be able to enjoy. I spent too
much of the run-time trying to remember who everyone was and what was going on.
There is some decent action to be
found, and with it often comes effective visual effects. The world-building and
cinematography are not the problem, and had the story been told in a more enjoyable
manner, it would be easy to praise The Flying Swordsman as a Chinese
blockbuster. While some may have patience to enjoy the rewards this film can
offer, there are flaws some will likely find too great to overcome.
There are no special features on the
Special Features: 0/10