The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman (2011)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2012-12-14
Summary: Too cute
Wuershan had been a successful and sought after director of television commercials before he was tapped to helm his first feature, “The Butcher the Chef and the Swordsman” and it looked as if he fell in love with every trope, device and cinematic trick he found. Overhead angles, Day-Glo colored lyrical scenes, cartoon interludes, a swordfight shown as a video game are all tacked together with the whiplash editing of music videos from twenty years ago. Each part of the triune story is connected to the others by a magic cleaver that all three possess and that has the power to change the life of whoever has it.

The clichés come thick and fast; there are more clichés than grains of sand on the beach or stars in the sky. They included the pig butcher that looks like a pig, a sensuous dance by a courtesan to the "Haberna" from Carmen and an evil swordsman who appears out of nowhere. It is so chopped to pieces that Wuershan may as well have used the cleaver to edit his film.
Animated sequences breakup the main narrative and onscreen graphics are used to show a character’s intentions and state of mind, much like a recitative in Baroque opera are utilized to give the audience a glimpse into the thoughts of a character. There are postmodern winks and nods, such as when the butcher slashes the graphic for "The End" because he wants the movie to continue.

“The Butcher the Chef and the Swordsman" is a visually attractive mess, just interesting enough for one to keep watching an a valiant attempt by a first time director who was used to working in narrative arcs covered 30 seconds instead of 90 minutes.
Reviewer Score: 6