Summary: similar plot but much better action than the first film
Comment: I actually enjoyed this sequal more than the first Swordsman. It is a similar plot, but it's a little more interesting and has some extra small twists and turns along the way. The majority of the same cast reappears, and a new addition - James Hong (Bloodsport 2, Talons of The Eagle, Perfect Weapon). The biggest difference was that the amounts of fights and fighters had considerably increased. There was also more variety in the fights and fighters, with matches similar to that in American Samurai.
The sword is once again stolen from the museum, but we know immediately it is the museum's owner who has put the operation together. He wants the sword to give to his fighter to make him lots of money on some fights, then retire. In addition, his insurance will pay handsomely if the sword is not found by the cops - Andrew (Lamas) and his girlfriend partner and male partner from the previous film. Oh yeah, and suddenly his male partner has come back to life from the previous film, as the previous reviewer mentioned.
James Hong enters the scene as a reincarnation of the man that Alexander defeated so long ago, and he's back for his revenge. With his Persian fighter "Mongol" (an exceptionally large man) he hopes to defeat the true owner of the sword, who is the reincarnation of Alexander the Great. Andrew is lured into the tournament, after the museum's owner has lost his fighter, and forced to fight against Mongol.
Not the best of fight action, but moderately enjoyable, and so much more than the first film. If you like plenty of swordplay fighting you should like this film.
Summary: RE-HASH OF PREVIOUS MOVIE WITH A DIFFERENT ESTHETIC
Comment: The first "Swordsman" movie with Lorenzo Lamas took itself seriously, playing like a poor man's "Highlander." This go-round, It decends into camp, and not always for the better.
The story is a re-working of the original: the "sword of Alexander the Great" gets stolen and our hero cop, who has dreams of a toga-clad swordfight and can see the last seconds of a dead person's life through his eyes by touching his blood, must infiltrate an underground gladiadorial combat ring. This time the beautiful museum researcher starts out as his girlfriend, and somehow his parter, who had been left floating in a swimming pool (a la "Sunset Boulevard") in the previous movie, is alive as if nothing happened.
Several sequences from the first movie are inserted in this one, making a back-to-back viewing guite humorous (a la MST3K: "How do you make sure an original movie is on time and under budget? Don't make one!"). They handled the fencing ring completely differently though. Whereas in the first movie, the fighters were uniform in wearing black tank-tops and pants with matching weapons, this movie had each fighter as a costumed character fighing with a distinctive style. The attitude of the tournament was much more WWF/WCW and less of the formal, serious mood. The bettors, instead of being subdued, formal rich people, were loud, trashy, yuppie club-goer types, serviced by a guy with a leather jacket, visor, and chalkboard. The fighting had a lot more hand-to-hand action and a great variety of weapons (axes, katanas, elk-horn knives, a fan, etc).
Like the first movie, there are confusing plot elements and several big holes. There is also one real big boner. One character believes that he is the re-incarnation of someone executed by Alexander aroubnd the 300's BC, yet James Hong (the actor playing the role, as well as he ever does) keeps on saying he will have his revenge at last, after "1700 years!" Math practice, anyone?
Both of these movies are best for people who can't get enough sword fighting. There's really nothing else it can do for you. A similarly themed movie (without the psychic/re-incernation element) that I can reccommend is "Ring of Steel," with Robert Chapin, Carol Alt, and Joe Don Baker.