A simple fisherman helps a fugitive King in a fight, and offers him refuge in a hideout near his fishing village. When the King's group is attacked by his usurper brother, the fisherman is ...
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Story centers on a battle during China's Warring States Period, a series of civil wars, which spanned from the 5th to the 3rd century B.C. Based on a popular Japanese manga, which was in turn based a Japanese novel inspired by Warring States history in China.
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A simple fisherman helps a fugitive King in a fight, and offers him refuge in a hideout near his fishing village. When the King's group is attacked by his usurper brother, the fisherman is sent to find the King's betrothed, the daughter of the Emperor, and bring her back. On the journey love blossoms between the fisherman and the Emperor's daughter. Meanwhile the King's beautiful advisor seems to be in love with him, despite the fact that she is a traitor sent to kill him by the evil brother. Written by
Brian Rawnsley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sammo Hung has an impressive record in front of the camera, but here shows his equally praiseworthy directorial skills.
Hampered in his filming by the fact that some of the cast were available for short periods (Maggie Cheung was only on set for 2 days!) meaning that there there is only one brief scene where all 4 main cast members are together on screen is an achievement in film-making. Arthur Wong is the cinematographer and deserves a lot of credit for the beautiful images captured on camera, in my opinion not matched in the genre apart from Hero (2002). With no CGI the frequent - but not excessive -wirework had to be shot in way so that the wires were not visible and this is pulled off extremely well. The action itself is very creative which is no surprise when you have Sammo Hung, Ching Siu-Tung and Corey Yuen (known as Yuen Kwai in some of his earlier films) who are widely recognised as three of the best action choreographers in the business. They manage to make Andy Lau et al. convincing action actors despite their lack of formal training.
Andy Lau plays the hero and makes a good job of it, though his killer whale sidekick is cute but ridiculous. As filming with the killer whale took place at some aquarium/theme park if you look closely you can see the 'rocks' are made of plastic! The late lamented Anita Mui, along with Kenny Bee and especially Maggie Cheung provide excellent support in a complicated love triangle subplot.
The music appears to have been given more attention than some other films in the genre and the songs sung by Andy Lau and Sally Yeh compliment the story perfectly. The other music is by the late James Wong whose work will be familiar to many Hong Kong action film enthusiasts and includes The Swordsman, Iron Monkey and the Once Upon a Time in China series.
One minor criticism is that though the storyline is epic in nature, the film is hampered somewhat by armies being made up of about a dozen extras, reducing their impact somewhat. This is no surprise considering the small budget of the film (particularly Hollywood standards). The film is also a little short, but tight scripting by Alex Law manages to largely overcome this flaw.
Overall I would highly recommend Moon Warriors, a film that is largely forgotten, but deserves more recognition as although it has several flaws, including a ludicrous scene with a plastic killer whale, there is much to enjoy here if you are a fan of the wuxia genre.
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