Synopsis by Mark Deming
Three stories of life in feudal China come together in this offbeat fusion of comedy, action, and food from first-time director Wuershan. Chopper (Liu Xiaoye) is a butcher who is stout, hirsute, and unrefined; however, when he sees Madame Mei (Kitty Zhang Yuqi), a beautiful courtesan who works at an upscale bordello, he's stricken with love at first sight and is determined to win her hand and prove he's worthy. Under ideal circumstances, this would be a tall order for Chopper, but it just so happens Mei already has a beau -- Big Beard, a master swordsman with a fearsome weapon and the deadly talent to use it. Meanwhile, a master chef (Mi Dan) is given a daunting assignment to prepare an eight-course dinner for Liu (Xie Ning), who has a history of murdering cooks who don't live up to his standards. Rather than risk his life, the chef gives the assignment to his assistant, but it turns out the chef's underling has a secret. And Dugu Cheng (Ashton Xu) is a swordsman-turned-cook who has been given a very special cleaver made by Fat Tang (You Benchang) from the swords of five gifted warriors. Dugu Cheng transforms the cleaver back into a weapon, yet learns that its magical properties are not all they're cracked up to be. Dao Jian Xiao (aka The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman received its North American premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.
butcher, chef, China, murder, prostitute/prostitution, swordsman