Watched Dec 21, 2011
Disclaimer: don't read the synopsis of this movie (i suspect from tmdb?), it contains spoiler. This review however does not have any spoiler in it.
Swordsmen is a bad title translation, google translate confirms my suspicion that the original title 'Wu Xia' actually means 'Martial art'.
Set in 1907, the main character played by Donnie Yen is living a simple life in a simple village. He's a family man with a wife and 2 kids. Then a couple of thugs come to rob a grocery store when he was there, he decided to interfere and managed to stop them by violence. A brilliant detective (Takeshi Kaneshiro) from the city comes to investigate the incident, and disrupts his simple life.
Another fine kungfu action performance from Donnie Yen, and although his acting skill is nowhere near his martial art ability, he does well in here. His simple person act can carry his character throughout the movie although a bit of range will help him, but i imagine it's hard enough to act consistently while having to perform martial art as well. On the other hand, Takeshi's weak acting performance is not even close to the potential his character can achieve, the Sherlock Holmes of martial art. The CSI style visual effects is a bit boring despite actually very decent quality, which is not VFX people's fault. Overall, this is a very enjoyable martial art movie with a modern approach. I especially appreciate how the village life is depicted on some beautiful locations.