Swordsman was produced by Tsui Hark, who had directed Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain and produced A Chinese Ghost Story, and the action scenes co-directed by Chin Siu-Tung, who had directed A Chinese Ghost Story. All the moves that would become a familiar staple of the flying swordsman genre are set out here mid-air combat, people bouncing off trees and flying off into the air, remote punches that can demolish entire buildings, swords whipped through the soil creating whirls of dirt. It is flashy and entertaining, although seeing Swordsman after some of the subsequent entries, none of the moves particularly stand out. It was not the best it was merely one of the first of these types of films. (Apparently, King Hu and Tsui Hark did not get on and Hu walked off set a few weeks in with the film being completed by others subsequently). In fact, the film that followed, Swordsman II (1992), is one of the finest of the genre. Nevertheless, it works likeably.
Swordsman is adapted from a novel and as a result has a more complex plot than these films usually do. However, trying to follow the various clans and factions and the fact that some of the characters are impostors and change sides throughout makes it hard to follow. The film also successfully imports the bubbliness of Hong Kong comedy there is a good deal of engaging interplay between the hero and his crossdressing female sidekick. As the hero, Sam Hui has an irrepressible perkiness of expression that is delightful.
Full film available online here:-