The Swordsman (2020) poster
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 1,294 users
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Reviews: 6 users
Ranked #1816
Popularity #4310
Watchers 1,294

Set during the chaotic period of the Ming-Qing dynasty transition, Tae Yul, the best swordsman in Joseon, lives in seclusion with his daughter Tae Ok in the mountains after failing to protect and prevent the downfall of Gwanghaegun of Joseon. As Tae Yul's eyesight begins to fail due to an old injury, Tae Ok seeks to find a treatment for him. When she is captured and taken away by the slave trader Gurutai, Tae Yul is forced to raise his sword again in order to save her. Edit Translation

  • English
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • Norsk
  • Country: South Korea
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Sep 23, 2020
  • Duration: 1 hr. 40 min.
  • Score: 8.1 (scored by 1,294 users)
  • Ranked: #1816
  • Popularity: #4310
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

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Cast & Credits


The Swordsman (2020) photo
The Swordsman (2020) photo
The Swordsman (2020) photo
The Swordsman (2020) photo
The Swordsman (2020) photo
The Swordsman (2020) photo


17 people found this review helpful
Jan 5, 2021
Completed 2
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 9.0

Taken, Joseon Style

Hollywood has Taken with Liam Neeson. South Korea’s answer is Jang Hyuk’s The Swordsman, with a dash of Joseon thrown in the mix. And what a fantastic version this is.

This sageuk is about Tae Yul, Joseon’s arguably greatest living swordsman, who was formerly part of the royal retinue as the personal bodyguard of the previous King, who was subsequently overthrown in a bloody coup. Fast forward many years later after the revolt, Tae Yul is now retired from guard duty with a serious sight impairment, living off-grid in the mountain wilderness as the guardian of a young teenage girl. This is set against the backdrop of power transitioning from the Ming Dynasty to the Qing forces in Imperial China. The arrival of Qing emissaries to coerce the Joseon administration into offering money and female slaves sourced from the local populace, including the daughters of the nobles, as tribute to the new dynasty causes much consternation and dissatisfaction among the nobility and royalty.

All hell breaks loose when the young girl under Tae Yul’s care gets abducted and enslaved by the Qing slavers. This is when the “Taken plot” takes over with Tae Yul taking on all the villains and finally the showdown with not one but two major boss-fights, in a bid to rescue the girl.

This is a high quality production that’s quite decent in every aspect - direction, screenplay, cinematography, choreography, editing, and artistic set design - with many familiar faces, beautiful scenery of the countryside as well as the authentic setting of the era. The main characters and the central plot are well written but the major focus of the show is undoubtedly the action. The sword fighting choreography is absolutely outstanding and the action sequences are stunning to behold. The art of swordsmanship shown here is top tier and surpasses many other South Korean productions. Breathtaking, bloody, artistic, even poetic. Seeing is believing.

The character of Tae Yul is marvelously brought to life by Jang Hyuk. The expression, body language, dialogue…it feels as though this role was made exclusively for him that no one else could possibly portray. A man of few words where action speaks the loudest, this is a seasoned warrior who lets his uniquely-bladed sword do the talking.

The primary antagonist is played by the Indonesian martial arts actor, Joe Taslim, who injects a measure of sophisticated charm into the villainous and slightly psychopathic Gurutai, leader of the Qing envoy and cousin to the new Qing Emperor. His athleticism and way with the sword is fully displayed in the epic final showdown of the movie.

The supporting cast is a familiar one, with veterans Jung Man Shik, Choi Jin Ho, and Jang Hyun Sung portraying the nobleman, former King and chief of the King’s guard respectively. Kim Hyun Soo portrays the young girl Tae Ok and her experience shines through having started her career as a child actress over a decade prior.

The only criticism that I would level at this production would be the length - 1 hour and 40 minutes. The plot did get somewhat convoluted with certain flashbacks and side plots that could have potentially been fleshed out more, if the film had been slightly longer. The average K-drama episode is over an hour long so as a film it should have been made into at least 2 hours. As it was, the pace did feel rushed during the final arc, the conclusion of the story.

Overall, The Swordsman is one of the best action sageuk produced in recent memory that will, and should, serve as a benchmark for similar action-oriented films in the future for top quality sword fighting and action choreography, in the South Korean film and drama industry.

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Hermine Voltaire
6 people found this review helpful
Feb 17, 2021
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10

“Be very careful of whom you mess with”

That was beautiful.
I have not seen fight choreography sequences like these in Korean films since Six Flying Dragons.
The storyline was clear enough for the limited timeframe and Jang Hyuk, as always, was fantastic.

This was the Joseon version of the film series, Taken.
“Be very careful of whom you mess with”

The English version:
“I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you're looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you.”

The Korean (Hangeul) version:
“나는 당신이 누구인지 모릅니다. 당신이 뭘 원하는지 모르겠어요. 몸값을 찾으신다면 저에게 돈이 없지만 제가 가진 것은 매우 특별한 기술입니다. 오랜 경력을 통해 습득 한 기술. 당신과 같은 사람들에게 나를 악몽으로 만드는 기술. 지금 내 딸을 보내 주면 그게 끝입니다. 나는 당신을 찾지 않을 것이며 당신을 추구하지 않을 것입니다. 하지만 그렇지 않으면 내가 당신을 찾고 당신을 찾을 것이고 당신을 죽일 것입니다.”

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  • Movie: The Swordsman
  • Country: South Korea
  • Release Date: Sep 23, 2020
  • Duration: 1 hr. 40 min.
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older


  • Score: 8.1 (scored by 1,294 users)
  • Ranked: #1816
  • Popularity: #4310
  • Watchers: 2,802

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