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Butterfly and Sword [VHS] (1993)

Michelle Yeoh , Jimmy Lin , Michael Mak  |  NR |  VHS Tape
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michelle Yeoh, Jimmy Lin, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Joey Wang, Donnie Yen
  • Directors: Michael Mak
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Tai Seng Entertainme
  • VHS Release Date: December 5, 2000
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304534353
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #860,966 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


This pinwheeling period-fantasy action film is all over the map--in its plotting, for starters, but also in its action sequences, staged by A Chinese Ghost Story's Ching Siu-tung, which are so frenetic that we can barely keep track of who's skewering whom. Based on a serialized swordplay novel by leading Chinese pulp writer Gu Long, the endless twists and turns in the conflict between two rival clans of quasi-magical warriors are all but impossible to follow. The result of this multilayered confusion is a less than completely involving cinematic experience, although the dashing Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies) and soulful Tony Leung Chiu-wai (Hard Boiled) are an unusually classy pair of comrades in arms. Newcomers interested in the distinctive Hong Kong subgenre known as wu hsia pian ("martial chivalry films") should consider beginning their researches elsewhere, with either Raymond Lee's Dragon Inn or Ronny Yu's The Bride with White Hair. --David Chute

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very high on style, less so in substance September 17, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This high art fantasy over-the-top costume piece is a "wire fu" lover's delight. All characters are dressed in coloful drapey, billowy robes and garments. The musical score is unusually well-orchestrated from beginning to end. But does everyone have to twirl 10 times while going 16 feet from point A to point B. There is very little walking in this film. Everyone twirls, flies, swings, flips, rotates, revolves (is that different from rotate?), levitates, somersaults, jacknifes, or pirohuettes (sp?) in nearly every frame. The fighting is fantastical and violent, to say the least. While the film is certainly different from the classic old-school kung fu film, I do, in fact, give the movie high marks within its own fantasy genre. Technically, the wire artistry and effects are mind-boggling, yet at times numbing. If wire fu is your cup of tea, I suppose this is your eye candy. For others, it's probably worth a peek, as I would suspect it is probably one of the best in its genre.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic movie that only improves with viewing May 31, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Believe it or not -- this is a fantasy costume drama which actually has a complex plot, multi-layered meanings and ways of interpreting personal relations, quality dramatic acting (particularly from Michelle Yeoh and Tony Leung) and comical scenes AS WELL AS unbelievable visuals and action sequences.
The cinematography is rich, the pacing is quick...There's plenty for the eye to see and for the mind to absorb. In fact, almost too much the first time round; which is why you need to see it at least a second time to really appreciate it. Also, it may help to get a plot synopsis/summary (I would recommend Pete's review off the "Yes Madam" web site) to know what to watch for.
On the other hand, one could just look upon it as eye candy, give up trying to understand what is actually going on (a love square amidst schemes to become master of the martial arts world) and just prepare to be blown away on a purely visual basis...Although that would be only half the experience, it would still be enjoyable enough for many Hong Kong movie fans and fans-to-be (if you crave something very different from American movies, this is it!).
On a cautionary note: The action sequences feature "wire fu". This is NOT Jackie Chan -- not necessarily better or worse but definitely different...and actually way fantastically weirder (After this, "Supercop" is s-o tame!)!!! In fact, it might come closer to "Excalibur"...I KID YOU NOT.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't analyze, just watch November 21, 2004
Do not try to apply western thinking to Asian movies! They are not done with the same intent or even at times for the same purpose. These movies go deep into culture and you have to go with it to enjoy what goes on. This movie has good action and fantastic plot lines! I searched until I found it. I like wire fu and prefer it to "real" kung fu movies because I like to escape. Butterfly and Sword will take you places you haven't likely been before.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of good action but confusing as heck January 11, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a pretty fun movie, with lots and lots of crazy action, and some pretty well acted scenes, but it is unbelievably confusing, so you never totally get behind the characters. Michelle Yeoh looks great and does a decent job but she just seems too wholesome to pull off the role of the somewhat evil kung fu master. She is not as intense as Brigitte Lin who is really the master of that sort of character. Tony Leung, Donnie Yen, and Joey Wang are all really great in this movie. This is highly recommended for HK fans but not so much for casual kung fu fans who are better off with something like Swordman II. Be warned that there are mandarin only editions of this movie on the market, so make sure you are getting a cantonese version if that is what you want.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only For Fans of the Genre February 21, 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Comet, Butterfly, and Sword (also known as Butterfly and Sword) is an interesting movie. It features Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon & Tomorrow Never Dies), Joey Wang (City Hunter), Tony Leung (Hard-Boiled & Gorgeous), and Donnie Yen (Highlander: Endgame & Once Upon a Time in China 2). The acting and direction is well-done, considering the usual Hong Kong action movie. Michelle Yeoh turns in a good performance (but not as good as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), and she manages to look gorgeous and intimidating at the same time. The action is constant and moves at a rapid pace. This movie is definitely not for those with a weak stomach because there is a lot of blood, flying limbs, impailings, and other sorts of gruesome deaths. The martial arts action is sometimes hard to see because of the direction, but that's what makes it look like such a frenzy. There's lots of wirework and other unbelievable stunts like that.
I did not like the movie for a few reasons. This movie is really for people that like these kinds of films. Personally, I tend to like lots of martial arts movies, especially those with Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, etc. I loved the cast, and I thought they did a good job in this movie. However, the action is what got to me. The movie has too much wirework (or wirefu) and blood. If you enjoyed movies like Yuen Woo Ping & Tsui Hark's Iron Monkey, Jet Li & Michelle Yeoh & Yuen Woo Ping's Tai Chi Master (aka Twin Warriors), and Michelle Yeoh & Anita Mui & Maggie Cheung's Heroic Trio, then I think you will enjoy this movie. If you are into those kind of movies, you will love this. However, if you just want to see it because it is martial arts, and this is not your type, then obviously don't get it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good movie
Published 1 month ago by leon b lafleur
1.0 out of 5 stars No Special Edition
This review is based on the technical aspects of the DVD and not the movie. This is one of my favorite martial arts movies and when I read that this was a special remastered... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jeffrey Eletto
4.0 out of 5 stars Butterfly Sword
The title on this dvd is a little misleading. I was thinking there was a special sword but in reality the title is Butterfly & Sword. Read more
Published on June 4, 2012 by B. J.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must See!
I first saw this movie years ago & fell in love with it. It's a little off-the-wall & the plot is convoluted, but it's uniqueness adds to it's character. Read more
Published on June 22, 2011 by LoneSword
5.0 out of 5 stars Wire-Fu at it's best
So i might be a tad bit one sided on this review only because I grew up watching this as a kid (NOT FOR KIDS) and it is the first wire-fu movie I ever saw and the reason I love... Read more
Published on January 25, 2011 by Modemc
2.0 out of 5 stars Select Version with Caution
Please be advised that I'm only reviewing ONE DVD VERSION of this movie and that my low rating does not reflect my opinion of the actual movie. Read more
Published on August 15, 2010 by Matthew F. Tabor
5.0 out of 5 stars ROFLMAO !!!
India has Bollywood. Asia has Kung Fu.

This movie was a hoot!
Creative ... but not afraid to poke itself with a sword ... LOL

Must watch!
Published on May 7, 2010 by maniac
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
The actors bring the story to life as the
plots unfold until the end of the film.
The action seguences are outstanding. Read more
Published on November 9, 2009 by W. Wooard
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Martial Arts Thriller
From the action director of DRAGON INN, THE DUEL, and the Jet Li Blockbuster HERO comes this dazzling martial Arts adventure starring action Goddess MICHELLE YEOH (Tomorrow Never... Read more
Published on October 24, 2009 by Jusuf Hariman
2.0 out of 5 stars Butterfly Sword fails to deliver
I'm sword fight movie fan - Toshiro Mifune, Kurosawa, and the more recent Zaitoichi, the blind swordsman (never much liked the original). Read more
Published on April 24, 2009 by La Zamora
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