Swordsman II (1991)
Directed by: Siu-Tung Ching, Stanley Tong
Tagline: "Let's sing "Hero of Heroes" over and over!"
During the 22nd Dynasty in China a group of rebel swordsmen from Japan team up with a Highland Clan to try and overthrow the Emperor.
Ling (Jet Li) and Kiddo (Michelle Reis) are riding to meet their 'brothers', the Wu Mountain students, so they can retire to Ox Mountain, when Kiddo's horse is cut in half by the 'sword energy' of one of the Japanese swordsmen.
After retrieving his wine gourd (rather than Kiddo from the side of the cliff), Kiddo buries her horse and her sword along with it.
At the inn where the two are headed, the Japanese swordsmen attack the Sun and Moon sect. The other Wu Mountain students who arrive after the fighting decide to make themselves at home.
Ling and Kiddo turn up and Ling finds the sect leader's whip and decides to go look for her, but some Government soldiers turn up at the inn. As they don't want to be blamed for the dead bodies, the rest of them nick off and Ling ends up being chased by the soldiers.
While separated from the others, Ling sees a woman on the beach and falls for her. What he doesn't know is that the woman is really Master Asia (Brigitte Lin), the leader of the Highlander Clan in league with the Japanese swordsmen.
A while later, Ling finds his friends and Kiddo again and they sneak into the Japanese swordsmen's camp. One swordsman in particular catches their eye, as he seems to be watching them. They draw him away to a secluded area and attack him, where they find he is really a member of the Sun and Moon sect named Zen, who has disfigured his face and gone undercover to try to find the former leader of the sect, Master Wu. Will he find him? Will Master Asia make another appearance? Will the cast ever stop singing "Hero of Heroes"? I'll let you find out for yourself.
Apart from the Once Upon a Time in China movies, this film is Jet Li's best work as everything seems right with it. The story, characters and action all work out great. It is a bit violent though, so I wouldn't let kids see it. Teenagers would enjoy this movie though as Master Asia looks great has some great moves, so much that there is a sequel (East is Red), based around her character.
I have no idea why the cast keeps singing 'Hero of Heroes' throughout the movie, but I thought it was a nice inclusion and provided a good contrast to the action.
If you are a fan of kung fu action dramas in a period setting, then I would recommend this movie. Jet Li fans in particular should track this movie down.Rating: 9/10