Wed. Dec 8th, 2021
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“‘The Swordsman’ motivates audiences in its choreography and its plot but faces an obstacle on specific elements.”

Welcome back fellow readers to another segment of Cinema Perception. In this review, I will be discussing a 2020 film from Opus Pictures, “The Swordsman.” For those that want to see this film, I recommend renting the film online. In my experience, I found this film on the PlayStation store and paid only $2.99 for rent.

The story is about a swordsman named Tae-yul, who is willing to fight for honor in the face of uncertainty to rescue his daughter, Tae-ok. Set in the Choson period, “The Swordsman” tries to captivate the viewer’s attention, blending a bit of history with action, but, like many films, action steals the show.

After seeing “The Swordsman,” I noticed that there were several positives within the film. For one, the action was brilliant from beginning to end. At one scene, I was very moved by watching the main character go after other enemies with only a sword and limited vision. The other positive that I had with the film was that the subtitles did not break away from the fighting scenes. In addition, the film had no pacing issues, which allowed the main plot to progress evenly. The fourth positive that this film had was the choreography. Seeing Tae-yul jump and weave away from an enemy’s blade made me think that he was John Wick. The last positive that the film had was the actual costume design. 

Other than the film’s positives, there were some negatives that I had with the film. The first negative was the creativity. Though I had no problem with the main character’s fighting capabilities, I did not feel any emotion toward the main character since he had no defined story about his past. The only past that the film provides to the viewer is that the main character is a swordsman that only wants to protect and serve the Choson Dynasty and protect his daughter. In addition, there was very little romance involved in this film. Since it is an action film, I did not find this to be an issue, but it would have greatly expanded the main character’s story if he had someone other than Tae-ok that he cared about. The last negative I had with the film was the film’s intention of trying to make it both a historical and an action film. Despite these few flaws, “The Swordsman” grabbed my attention throughout.

Overall, “The Swordsman” was indeed a good Korean action film, and I recommend this film for anyone that loves choreographic action scenes and a decent plot. I would give this film a three point nine out of five stars for its action and stunning choreography. ‘Till next issue, this is Nicholas Bartelmo signing off from Cinema Perception.


Nicholas Bartelmo is a fourth-year History major. NB790429@wcupa.edu

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