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The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman

3.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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(Sep 27, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman, the first feature from Chinese filmmaker Wuershan, was executive produced by director/producer Doug Liman, who was intrigued by Wuershan’s original approach to the martial arts genre. The film recounts the journey of a mystical blade as it passes through the hands of three ambitious men and features a mix of diverse filmmaking styles, including black-and-white sequences, animation, split screen and a music video.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Masanobu Andô, Xiaoye Liu, Hou Xiang, Ashton Xu, Benchang You
  • Directors: Wuershan
  • Writers: Wuershan, Changhe An, Jiajia Zhang, Luoshan Ma, Que Tang
  • Producers: Daniel Yu, Doug Liman, Jinlong Yao, Shao Yiding, Tang Xiru
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2011
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005G4H08K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,712 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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.
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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.
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Format: Amazon Video
Loved it. Three stories, well-told, well-crafted, intertwined in surprising ways. If you are a fan of Chinese cinema and martial arts cinema, you'll love this. If you're not familiar with the style of Chinese movies, it will probably come off as very strange at times.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After watching the preview, I was expecting a creative and clever story. But in reality, it was a lot of build-up, with a poor finish. The butcher, chef and swordsman need to use their blades to edit the ending.
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By Hagen on December 30, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It is really difficult to get this movie, it worths every penny
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By A. Sonnee on September 11, 2015
Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This is one of the funniest movies. Love it!
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