Butterfly & Sword DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 3.0
Video 1.5
Audio 2.0
Special Features   N/A
Total 3.0
Distributor: Icon
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Classification:
MA15+
Reviewer: Andrew Proverbs

3.0


Butterfly & Sword

Thereís something about the Chinese martial arts epic that sets it apart from (and in some ways above) other forms of cinema. Maybe itís the colourful characters, the mystique of the period settings, or the near-magical abilities of the heroes and villains.  

All through the history of this genre, from the B-grade íChop-Sockyí movies of the 70ís to super silky productions like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, one element has continued to set the bar: the fight scenes. Butterfly and Sword, directed by Michael Mak in 1993, is an example of the fast-paced, flowing action scenes that have continued to inspire Hollywood to this day. Itís a sad indictment then, that the fight choreography is the only positive thing this fan of the genre took away from the experience. 

Set during the Ming dynasty period, Butterfly and Sword tells the story of a young man named Sing (Tony Leung, Red Cliff, Hero) and his sister Ko (Michelle Yeoh, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Sunshine). Through a series of intrigues, Ko plans to steal a scroll from warlord Suen Yuk Pa (Elvis Tsui), and by doing so elevate herself to the status of Ďmaster of the world of martial arts.í Sing reluctantly leaves his young wife Butterfly (Joey Wang) and sets out to gain Suenís trust. Back on the home front, Ko and Butterfly, with the help of their friend Yip (Donnie Yen) do their best to fend off attacks from enemy agents.  

The problems start shortly after the opening credits. The first half hour is composed of a string of barely connected scenes, with characters coming, going and dying without telling us anything important. And things donít get much better from there. By the time I worked out who all the players were and how they were connected to one another, it was deep into the filmís running time and the moment had well and truly passed. The situation isnít helped by plot strands that are taken up and then quickly abandoned. Just as you find yourself warming to the gang of street urchins whoíve accepted some strays into their ranks and formed an unlikely bond, they disappear and play no further part in the story.  

Fights break out spontaneously, with little or no context. These scenes are excellently choreographed, but in no way do they make up for the lack of substance in this film. It looks as if Michael Mak and his film crew have tried to grab as much action footage as possible and then mashed it all together, in the hope of building some semblance of a plot around it. The more peaceful moments feel very much like an afterthought, and the whole thing is devoid of any direction or purpose.  

The picture quality on this DVD is just about on par with an old VHS tape. Flickering, artefacts and an overall fuzziness are present throughout the feature. The audio quality is just as bad, with muffled voices and a musical score that sounds as if itís being played from the bottom of the South China Sea.  

A special note needs to be made of the English translation, which is quite possibly one of the worst examples Iíve come across in a foreign film. The spelling in the subtitles is woeful, and some sequences of dialogue are utterly incomprehensible owing to the poor translation. Hereís an example:

ďDonít play well in such game- How can in charge in important matter?Ē  

Unless youíre a die-hard fan of Michelle Yeoh and Tony Leung, or you have a collection of B-grade martial arts flicks going that wouldnít be complete without it, Butterfly and Sword is better left in the vault. Chinese cinema has a lot to offer the world, but this isnít its finest hour-and-a-half.






 
 



   Games
   PlayStation 4
   XBox One
   PlayStation 3
   XBox 360
   PC
   PS Vita
   Wii U
   Wii
   3DS
   DS
   PSP
   Apple
   Casual
   Android
   Classics

  Movies
   Movies & IMAX
   Blu-ray
   Action
   Anime
   Comedy
   Crime & Thrillers
   Documentaries
   Drama
   Family
   Horror
   Kids
   Lifestyle
   Music
   Romance
   Sci-fi
   Sport

   IT
   PC
   Apple
   Hardware

   Information & Fun
   News
   Interviews
   Articles

   Tara's G-Spot
   Loren's Level
   Comics
   Books
   Mind & Body
   Music
   Competitions
   Community
 








 
 




Impulse Gamer is your source for the
latest Reviews and News on Video Games,
Entertainment, Pop Culture, Hardware &
More!

 


© 2001 - 2014 Impulse Gamer
 

 

About Us | Contact Us