Moria gives it 4 out of 5 stars and opens its review with this praise: "Of all the Wu Xia Pan (fantastical flying swordsman) films that began with Swordsman (1990), Butterfly & Sword is one of the finest of the genre." Weird Wild Realm calls it an "appalling bore". Hong Kong Cinema calls it "unremarkable" and says,
The only reason people will watch this movie to the end will be to see if there is a sweet fight scene to follow all the distracting filler. You will not give a damn about the characters, or have any real concern for the plight of the warring clans. There are so many plot threads that are either forgotten or ignored during the movie. This is just plain lazy. The only saving grace for Butterfly and Sword is the action...DVD Talk says, "despite a confusing plot, mishandled action sequences, and its tendency to make me want to yell "what?!" in disbelief at some mind-boggling directorial decision, Butterfly and Sword is pretty entertaining, intentionally or unintentionally."