My Own Swordsman is made out of the same title and very popular eighty-episode, TV comic series directed by Shang Jing and broadcast by Chinese television in 2006.
Over the last years, the TV series has been adapted and transformed into a videogame, a play and a cartoon; the movie uses the same characters and historical setting as the TV series (set during the Ming dynasty), but it also adds many references to problems of topical interest, such as the abnormal development of real estate market and the consequences of houses price increase on medium-income people.
As happens more and more frequently in Chinese movies, the setting in a more or less remote past and the screwball comedy are the subterfuges often used by directors wishing to satirize the present or tackle serious problems avoiding the control of censor authorities.
The movie has a concerted rhythm with many characters of equal importance and the story mainly occurs inside Tongfu inn. The inn belongs to Tong Xiangyu, a widow of a famous hero of martial arts, who manages it together with her new husband Bai Zhangtang, an aspirant swordsman master. Guo Furong, a young expert in martial arts, works at the inn: she is expecting a baby, she would like to start a new life and buy a house for her young family. Her husband is Lu Xiucai, a poor man of letters who does not succeed in passing the exams to become an imperial office. And then there is Zhu Wushuang, a young agent of the local police department and her would-be fiancé Yan Xiaoliu. The “villains” of the history are two: the first to come on stage is Pei Zhicheng, a corrupted imperial officer (and a corrupter too) who arrives to the village with great pomp to transform it into a luxury residential area: to do it, he would like to buy the several real estates of the village (among which there is an inn) at bargain price; the latter is Ji Wuli, a professional murderer, who is recruited by Pei to kill Tong and his friends first and then the young policeman. However, with an abacus always at hand to calculate the returns, Ji insists on following an independent professional logic …
The movie is hilarious, characters are well developed and many intelligent dialogues blink at contemporary China. The sequences of martial arts are impressive and funny at the same time, particularly the initial scene when a young Guo goes through the village making several jumps: all this seems a mixture between martial arts and parkour.
The two female characters Yan Ni (playing Tong) and Yao Chen (playing Guo Furong) show a real talent for humor, while the cameo of Wu Ma (the Hong Kong actor who self-laughs at his incapacity in speaking mandarin) proves how the movie is close to Chinese urban audience, mostly those who are familiar with the TV series from which it is made out of and the daily life of the population of Chinese metropolis, despite the costume setting.