The Swordsman (1992)


USA. 1992.


Director/Screenplay – Michael Kennedy, Producer – Nicolas Stiliadis, Photography – Ludek Bogner, Music – Domenic Troliano, Special Effects Supervisor – Brock Joliffe, Production Design – Raymond Lorenz. Production Company – SC Entertainment International


Lorenzo Lamas (Andrew Barrett), Claire Stansfield (Julie Wilkins), Michael Champion (Stratos), Eugene Clark (Captain), Nicholas Pasco (Nick), Michael Copeman (Dr Mike Sandford)


Andrew Barrett is a police detective with clairvoyant abilities. He is plagued by what he later learns are reincarnative dreams in which he sees himself in ancient times. He investigates the theft from an Alexander the Great exhibition of a sword that Alexander reputedly had buried so that he might reincarnate in modern times. The investigation takes Barrett to a fencing school run by the enigmatic Stratos who inducts him into a series of secret duels where combatants fight to the death for money.

The Swordsman was a film was no doubt hoping to jump in on the modern day mystical swordplay genre begun by Highlander (1986). It was one of the first attempts to build Lorenzo Lamas, the inanimately good-looking Latino hunk from Falcon Crest (1981-90), up into an action star.

Unfortunately, the film that supports Lorenzo Lamas is never that good, an anonymous title whose ambition seems to lie no further beyond filling the 50 cent rent bins in video stores. In fact, for something that bills itself as an action film, The Swordsman is surprisingly short on action. Some swordplay does eventually arrive but it is hard to get around the slow pace and the indifferently developed plot to appreciate this. Not much makes sense half the time – Lorenzo Lamas seems to gain knowledge out of thin air and his clairvoyant abilities ultimately have no connection to anything that happens. Lamas gives the performance that is expected of him – he looks handsome with his long hair tied back in a pony-tail, while wisely keeping his mouth shut and letting his looks do all the speaking he needs to. A frustratingly dull film.

The Swordsman should not be confused with the Hong Kong flying swordsman film Swordsman (1990). Lorenzo Lamas repeated the same role in a sequel Gladiator Cop (1994).

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