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Butcher the Chef a/T Swordsman

Masanobu And˘ , You Benchang , Wuershan    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK Action Comedy That Is Light on Action and Heavy on Comedy Nov. 9 2012
By Tsuyoshi - Published on Amazon.com
Well, Doug Liman presents "The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman." I don't know what exactly this "presents" means, but I can tell you this.

"The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman" is an action comedy, and with "action sequences" small in number and all choppily edited, this is hardly a martial arts movie. (The trailer is a bit misleading.) The film is light on action and heavy on comedy. That itself is not a bad thing. What is disappointing is the film's one-note narrative that seems going on aimlessly.

As the title suggests, "The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman" consists of three stories interconnected with each other. In all three segments - Desire, Vengeance and Greed - appears the same kitchen cleaver that changes hands over years. The narrative device is similar to that of "The Red Violin," but is actually more ambitious. Maybe too ambitious.

The first segment is about a butcher smitten with a courtesan. This is followed by the second segment, "a story within a story" about a young cook. He is appointed by the restaurant's owner to serve dishes for a powerful and merciless Court Execution Officer Liu. In the middle of the narrative another tale begins, "a story within a story within a story," a tale of a greedy swordsman, which explains the origin of the kitchen cleaver.

To make this kind of complicated narrative style, you need to be a skilled storyteller like Christopher Nolan, which the director of "The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman" is simply not. The director is Wuershan, about whom I know nothing about. Certainly the director has unique visual styles (and the hip-hop part is pretty good), but most ideas like video game-inspired fights look dated or clichéd, and jokes are repetitious.

Blending traditional Chinese martial arts genre with Quentin Tarantino-like playful visual and narrative styles is a very good idea. Perhaps you remember "Sukiyaki Western Django," a Japanese cult film, in which Tarantino and Masanobu And˘, who plays the chef in "The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman" appear. Both films have great ideas and visual styles, and both are in need of interesting stories and characters, which classics like "Pulp Fiction" have.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hilarious multi-media experience June 20 2013
By Persistent Gardener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is the feature debut of Chinese director Wuershan, who also directed
Painted Skin: The Resurrection [Blu-ray]
The lives and the destinies of the butcher, the chef and the swordsman
are entwined with the story of a cleaver, which was cast from the melted blades
of the most notorious swordsmen of the land.
This is a moral fable, which is supremely ironic, because the cleaver
has been fashioned for culinary glories, not for killing people.
The stories of the three principal characters are developed in a series
of nestled flashbacks:
The lecherous, buffoonish butcher will not be stopped-by any foe or adversity-
from winning the hand of the prettiest girl in the brothel of "A Thousand Flowers".
A "mute" young man will not be stopped-by any foe or adversity-
from avenging the murder of his family, on the orders of a malicious Palace Eunuch.
This young man is apprenticed to the famous "Eight Courses" master chef,
in the "South Beauty" restaurant.
The unscrupulous and greedy swordsman will not be stopped-by any foe or adversity-
from possessing the mightiest blade in the realm.
Director Wuershan creatively incorporates imagery from
several American, European and Chinese films.
This is a darkly humorous and fast film, which is effectively visualized
by a dazzling array of techniques: Fake vintage news reels, animation,
a hip-hop video clip, computer graphics, shots in black and white,
shots which resemble cheesy commercials with oversaturated colors, etc.
DVD image quality is excellent. Extras comprise a trailer of the film,
and several Fox World Cinema advertisements.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not worth watching Feb. 20 2014
By william - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
the preview is more great! but that all you getting. the jokes are really bad and the story shifting is not well organize
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Jan. 19 2012
By temp a skorpio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed Chinese film for over a decade; this is an exceptional piece. The cinematography is exceptional. The story is woven nicely. I can't think of another Chinese film to compare in recent times. This is a keeper.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money. Lousy movie. Sept. 12 2012
By Dierk Sr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I ordered this movie, because it was produced by the same people who made Joy Luck Club, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Slumdog Millionaire. This was a lousy movie. I didn't even make it half way through. I took it up to Vintage Stock and traded it in for store credit and bought something else. From now on, I think I'll make sure to see a movie before I buy it. Just because it was produced by the same group that made those other excellent movies doesn't guarantee that all movies made by that company are as good.

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