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武林外傳 (2011)
My Own Swordsman

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 03/23/2018
Summary: Broad satire of real estate mania

I came late to the “My Own Swordsman” franchise--the movie was preceded by an 80 episode television series, an animated series and even a video game--so when it started in the middle of an action scene with all of the principal characters present I was at a disadvantage. Really didn’t make that much difference it turned out since all the exposition and backstory from the previous incarnations weren’t necessary. “My Own Swordsman” can stand on its own. It tells the audience what it needs to know (not very much) about the characters as they attempt increasingly absurd methods of avoiding the corrupt government finance official and his hired killer.

The main action centers around a decrepit hotel that is one of the few properties not sold for a huge commercial real estate development--and real estate or rather the made desire to own it, no matter what the price, is at the heart of the movie. There are insane price hikes, crazy speculation, large-scale demolition, house purchase binges and, at last, the scrimping and saving of ordinary people who ultimately lose to the speculators who themselves are bankrupted by market forces. A bidding frenzy for a tumbledown cow shed, complete with cow, exemplifies the crazy speculation.

Some of the action is punctuated with bone crunching sound effects as the assassin for hire Ji works his way through the cast breaking necks. Just about everyone is killed but in such outlandishly cartoony fashion that we aren’t surprised when they all turn up alive and well (and wildly successful) just before the final credits roll. Actual cartoons pop up a few times (one to show how insanely long a line there is for people to hand their money to real estate sharks) and a love duet is accompanied by karaoke symbols and subtitles. “My Own Swordsman” isn’t subtle and doesn’t make much sense on the surface (or underneath the surface). It is a pleasant way to waste a couple of hours

Reviewer Score: 6